Monday, September 01, 2014

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Districts move toward sharing services

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Districts move toward sharing services
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The Remsen and Adirondack Central Schools are in talks to join forces by sharing services. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us what doors they're hoping the move can open for students.

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Between its heavy reliance on state aid and the boundaries of the state's new two percent property tax cap, the Remsen Central School District is facing a difficult budget year.

"We're still looking at ways we could fill a $360,000 shortfall and so this is certainly one area that could help us," said Remsen Superintendent Joanne Shelmidine.

Remsen is hoping that help will come in the form of shared services with the Adirondack Central School District. Officials there faced a $1.1 million budget gap this year.

"Fortunately, we were able to put together a budget where we didn't lose programs, so we were very, very lucky," said David Hubman, the Adirondack District's superintendent.

A partnership between the two schools would allow them to do something they wouldn't be able to otherwise: Add programs without added costs. The districts' boards of education are looking at offering an elective unique to one school, like Remsen's music industry class or Adirondack's agriscience class, to the other through distance learning.

"Their teacher here would be transmitting it and our students at Remsen would receive it. So through television cameras and TVs," explained Shelmidine.

There are still obstacles to be overcome, including the schools' different bell schedules, but officials say it's worth looking into and other cost saving measures could be explored in the future.

"We're trying to be proactive. We're trying to look for opportunities now that we can start to institute and start to put together and start slow," said Hubman.

Counselors from both districts will next meet to see what courses fit best with each other's schedules.

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