North Bellmore plans to close one school

October 7, 2011 2:12:07 PM PDT
Budget problems have school districts struggling to make ends meet and looking at ways to save money.

One school district on Long Island is considering closing a school and parents aren't happy with the plan.

A daycare group, using the playground is the only sign of life at North Bellmore's six elementary schools Friday as the district closed for staff development, as parents worried that one of these schools might soon close for good.

"It could be any school," Cindy Dubon said.

Cindy Dubon grew up in the district and now raises two kids here.

She fears the community atmosphere will be turned upside down as administrators consider a plan to close one school, and turn the others into centers for specific grades.

So as students get older, they'd all move from building to building.

"Obviously I'm not an accountant I feel that there's different ways for them to find this money," Dubon said.

"Sometimes people want everything and I would like to give them everything, but the reality is we can't," North Bellmore Superintendent of Schools Arnold Goldstein said.

The school superintendent isn't alone.

Across Nassau County, districts are suffering major losses in aid, from Washington and from Albany.

In North Bellmore, Goldstein says he's trimmed plenty of fat from his budget, but he's still about two million bucks in the hole.

Raising taxes is out of the question with Governor Cuomo recently capping tax hikes at just two percent.

In the end, Goldstein says something has to give.

"We are looking at ways that we can save money for the taxpayer, maintain the quality of instruction within the confines imposed by the tax cap and the recession," Goldstein said.

"We have enough overcrowding in the classrooms; we have enough teachers that need jobs. I would rather they raise my taxes," Dubon said.

A committee of over 20 people including some parents is meeting to determine the fate of these elementary schools.

They hope to present a proposal to the BOFE by the end of the year so they can make these changes by next September