ECSD holds public budget forum
As the Elmira City School District searches for ways to close a $10 million budget gap, the school board wants to keep people informed during the process. So the superintendent held his first of four public forums Tuesday night. Our Bill Mich tells us what parents are most worried about.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- In an effort to save jobs and money, the Elmira City School District is considering two plans that would reorganize students in the district. And it was those two proposed plans that parents were most concerned about during Tuesday night's budget forum.
"Shipping my kid around like a rock star on tour, three or four different schools by the time they reach seventh grade to me seems irrational," says Elmira resident, Mike Bahantka.
Superintendent Joe Hochreiter says one of those plans is a necessity for the district moving forward. And while parents understand the financial difficulty the district is facing, many are not happy with having their children attend elementary school in a different part of the city. Others hope the plans were not designed with only money in mind.
"It should be educationally driven so that the last thing we want to do is go backwards educationally. And I haven't seen as much stress on that as I have on the finances part," said Elmira resident, Ted Lax.
These concerns, as well as district spending and program cuts, were all discussed Tuesday night in the effort to keep the community up to date with the ongoing budget process. And the superintendent says he understands where parents are coming from and why they may be concerned, but these tough decisions have to be made to save the district financially.
"We're not going through this exercise to shake things up or create undue or unnecessary change. We're going through this exercise because our funding has crippled our ability to provide programs for kids," said the superintendent.
There is still plenty to be decided before the budget is finalized and voted on in May, and the district says it will provide plenty of opportunities for the public to be heard along the way.