Broadalbin-Perth school district eyes sweeping changes to reduce expenses

Broadalbin-Perth school officials will outline several proposals tonight for significant changes the

Broadalbin-Perth school officials will outline several proposals tonight for significant changes they said will reconfigure district programs and services in coming years to deal with diminished state aid and a mandated tax cap.

The district is proposing at least six major changes under a banner titled “Reimagine a Broadalbin-Perth Education,” said spokeswoman Michele Kelley. “We genuinely want community feedback on these,” she said.

Changes include:

School forum

What: “Reimagining a Broadalbin-Perth Education”

When: 6:30 this evening

Where: High school media center

• Starting the elementary school day 15 minutes later, at 8:45 a.m., to rely less on teacher aides. An as-yet-undetermined number of aides would be laid off.

• Reconfiguring classes in district buildings by placing all elementary classes in one building and all secondary classes in a second building. The district currently splits children into four schools within the two buildings. Pre-kindergarten to grade 2 are in the same building with grades 9-12; in the other building are grades 3-5 in one school and grades 6-8 in another school.

“We would still use the same physical space; we would just swap primary and middle school space,” Kelley said. The reconfiguration would improve collaboration among grade levels now separated by buildings.

• Eliminating junior varsity sports competition and offering only modified and varsity competition. In addition, the district proposes eliminating certain sports with low participation, such as wrestling, and adding sports like tennis, which do not cost a lot. Kelley said decisions regarding sports are contingent on what other schools in the Foothills Council — to which the district belongs — are planning to do with their sports programs.

• Eliminating French as a second language but offering Mandarin Chinese under contract through Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES. The district will continue to teach Spanish as a second-language requirement.

• Eliminating some elective course offerings and adding others. “It is time to take a hard look at whether our kids need these classes and whether we can offer them something more useful and interesting that will help them in the future,” Kelley said. For example, the district has taught keyboarding as an elective since 1980. She said students have better typing skills today because of their computer use and that a more useful elective to offer may be video game design.

• Moving toward one-to-one computing in the classroom. This concept involves providing students with computer tablets they can use for course work and study.

• Looking at alternative energy options. The district spends $1.2 million on energy and is proposing to reduce this cost by half by installing solar panels.

Kelley said the district’s leadership team has been working on these proposals since fall. “The writing has been on the wall for a while. We have seen three straight years of flat or declining state aid,” she said.

Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said the school district is at a crossroads and has two choices: It can “continue to decimate programs until it has nothing left, or adapt to its new fiscal realities.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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