The Answer Depends On Who You Ask

The Rondout Valley Central School District is facing some tough decisions in the face of a dismal school budget. The district hopes to cut costs by consolidating and reorganizing its schools and has made public its decision to close one of its three elementary schools. Superintendant Rosario Agostaro said that he and his team considered different options for reconfiguring the district and found that closing one elementary school was, “The model we found to be the least disruptive academically.” With the decision final and a school closing imminent, there remains the question of which of the three elementary schools (Rosendale, Marbletown, or Kerhonkson) will close its doors.

I’ve noticed how locally this issue has spanned generations. I have a number of peers who are new parents and living in the Rondout Valley district, some of whom are currently looking for a new home. They’ve expressed their anxiety and conflicting emotions that come with the uncertainty of not yet knowing which schools their young children are likely to attend. For some residents I’ve spoken to, the closing of an elementary school is an unfortunate, but necessary step to reign in school taxes that have long been out of control. New York tax payers have reached a breaking point after years of the highest property taxes in the nation. Newly elected governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed to lower taxes and has proposed putting a cap on property tax increases. School budgets are feeling the squeeze, and many see the closing of an elementary school as an unavoidable result of trying to be more economical. Then there are my peers, (myself included) who once attended these schools, played & learned inside their walls. For us the debate has a much more nostalgic tone. While understanding the need to control taxes (many of us being relatively new home owners ourselves) we can’t help but feel sad if the school of our childhood closes its doors forever, leaving a long and happy history behind.

The decision has yet to be made. Rondout Valley has created an advisory committee in order to gather information and community feedback about the potential school closures. Although the committee is still being formed, Agostaro says that its sole purpose is to give a voice to the community regarding this decision. The committee will be chaired by Trustee Breanna Costello and is scheduled to meet Wednesday evenings. Those interested in becoming involved can contact the district office for more information. RVCSD - (845) 687-2400


Posted by Dylan Taft on


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