Future of Schenevus Forum

Schenevus Central School District Superintendent Theresa Carlin shared information about the district’s financial future at a public forum at the school Nov. 6. In attendance were Assemblyman Brian Miller; district treasurer Greg Beall; Christina Coughlin of the Office of School Governance, Policy, and Religious and Independent Schools; and Duncan Davie, chief of staff for state Sen. James Seward. 

Review the Superintendent's Powerpoint presentation 

Carlin gave a presentation outlining options to be considered by the Board of Education in light of the district’s constrained finances. A panel discussion and question-and-answer period followed. The superintendent discussed reasons why the district cannot afford to continue in its present state as a K-12 district. 

“Our revenues are inflexible,” the superintendent noted, adding that the community does not have the wealth to support an additional $500,000 a year in additional taxes, and that while the district has asked for additional funding from the state, “we don’t know if it will get fixed in enough time to make a difference for us.” 

The superintendent also described previous work to cut expenses and, noting that the district is just meeting basic state mandates, said any additional staff cuts would jeopardize the district’s ability to operate its programs. The district is working to save money on the health insurance it provides to employees, Carlin said. 

The superintendent described the three options being considered by the board, in order of preference: 

  • Merge with another district. A merger could save money over the long term by consolidating administrative positions and reducing some teaching positions through combined classes. A merged district could also potentially offer students more academic and extracurricular opportunities by bringing together more students with common interests. The district has applied for a grant to help fund a merger study — the first step in the process toward a merger. A decision is expected in December or January. 

  • “Tuition out” students in Grades 7-12 to another district. Just as the district now sends students to BOCES and pays BOCES for this service, the district could pay another district to educate students in Grades 7-12. If the cost of tuition is less than the district had been spending to educate these students, the district could save money. A partner district may also be able to offer academic and extracurricular opportunities that Schenevus could not. This option would eliminate all faculty and staff positions that now serve Grades 7-12.  

  • Dissolve the district. An option of last resort, dissolving the district would only be considered after all other options have been tried. 

The superintendent and the panel took questions from the audience, and let the community know that her door is always open for anyone who has questions or concerns about the options being considered by the board. She emphasized that the board will not move forward on any of the options under consideration until a decision is made about the grant that would fund a merger study.

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