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The Berkshires

Hyde Park School District to close elementary school

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Albany/HV: Hyde Park School District to close elementary school
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The Hyde Park School District has adopted a budget for the 2012-2013 school year that would close an elementary school along with a 2.7 percent tax levy hike. John Wagner has the story.

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- A few hurdles remain, but the end of Hyde Park Elementary, a school opened with the help of FDR during World War II, is on the horizon.

"It's an unfortunate thing, it's a sad thing, we know it's a historic building, we know it's on Route 9 the main corridor of our district, but unfortunately the numbers have continued to dwindle," said Sharon Matyos, Hyde Park School Board President.

The number of students in the district and the amount of state funding keeps dropping. District officials say they had a $10.5 million budget gap to fill. $5 million comes from the fund balance and reserve funds, and cutting an elementary school provides more than a million dollars.

"By consolidating our students into four buildings, we will have greater equity in class size, and again having class sizes around 23, 24, is very reasonable," said Greer Fischer, Hyde Park Central School District.

The savings come mostly from 16 and a half jobs cut along with the school, but parents are worried it will cut the quality of education.

"They say oh right now, it's not going to be more than 24, 25 kids, you'll see later on, next thing there's 30, 32," said Mark Gregson, parent of two Hyde Park Elementary students.

“He's not going to be with all of his friends, he's not going to have the same teachers, the same services,” said Cindy McGill, parent of a 1st grader at Hyde Park Elementary.

Even if residents vote down the plans on May 15th, the alternative budget also includes closing a school, along with dropping additional programming. Parents say they didn't get their due process and they'd rather shutter another school.

"From a taxpayer point of view, my tax values going down, my house value is going to go down, they don't care about that," said McGill.

"Bottom line is enrollment is down and you have to run the school district like a business. You have a large budget to manage and you can't waste any dollars," said Sharon Matyos, Hyde Park School Board President.

Public hearings will be held both on the budget and on the school closing later next month.

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