Dozens of concerns parents, students and community members attended the Camden School District’s Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. Financial options for the schools future were discussed, some as extreme as the closing of an elementary school. Our Cara Thomas tells us community members were not afraid to express their opinions and say closing a school should be the last resort.
CAMDEN, N.Y. -- Over the years, the Camden School District says they’ve done their best to avoid making cuts, despite their financial strains. But administrators say the time of using their fund balance to fill the gap is over and something has to change.
Camden School District's Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Bryant said, "If we were to continue to provide those programs and services at the level that we currently have them that we would have to find some alternative ways of finding the revenues to sustain those."
Last fall, they decided to do an efficiency study to see what they could do differently. Eight suggestions were provided ranging from doing nothing to potentially closing a school, either Annsville or North Bay Elementary. Which administrators say could save the school district $750,000. But even with that amount of savings, that option was not a community favorite.
One concerned parents said, "I strongly doubt that in a situation where communities are broken and redistributed where classrooms become overcrowded and chaotic that we will not be able to recreate the special magic that is McConnellsville, Annsville, Camden and North Bay Elementary School."
In order to choose, the Board of Education has asked the administration to move forward and gather more information about the available options. Including what class sizes would look like, bus routes and which option save would save the school the most money.
But the community isn't done searching for other options.
Peter Fitzgerald from the Camden Educational Oversight Association said, "Get creative. I mean they could be in this rut where they just need out of the box thinking and getting other folks involved, teachers what have you might give them those new ideas."
The board has asked anyone with other alternatives to present them. Administrators say if something doesn’t change, they’ll be broke within three years.