Mineola considers closing 2 schools

The News Leader

January 25, 2010 3:18:45 PM PST
Facing a major budget shortfall, the Mineola school district on Long Island is considering the drastic action of closing two of its elementary schools. A relatively small district, Mineola currently has four schools for grades one through five, each with only about 200 students.

District administrators are considering a plan to consolidate the four small community schools into two bigger clustered campuses -- first and second graders would be at one, third through fifth graders at the other.

We're faced with this conundrum, what do we do?" said Mineola School Superintendent Michael Nagler.

Next year, the district stands to lose nearly $500,000 in state funding, and almost $250,000 in lost investment interest.

There are also rising expenses like contractual pay raises for teachers.

The total budget shortfall is almost $8 million.

Nagler said says consolidating schools may be the one of least drastic options available.

"Sports, theater, music, arts, some of our special services, reading teachers, librarians, anything that's not mandated by the state? is possibly going to be eliminated," he added.

Parents had a mixed reaction to the district's budget woes.

I don't think our budget will pass otherwise, so I thought it was a good suggestion," said Linda Pardo.

Grandparent Chris Manos said that the taxes people pay should be enough. "Look how many taxes we pay? where do they go with this money?" he asked.

The Board of Education will consider this plan next month. If approved, the changes won't take effect for at least two years.