NISKAYUNA, N.Y. - One elementary school has been saved, for at least another year, after a major vote was made by the Niskayuna School Board on Tuesday.
No Niskayuna School District schools will be closed for the 2014-15 school year after the board voted 7-0 at their meeting Tuesday night to table those talks until next year.
The board had been considering closing Birchwood Elementary School to close a large budget gap. The Niskayuna School District has been under financial stress due to a lack of state aid funding and a rise in pension costs. School officials said reconfiguring the school district and cutting jobs would help bridge the budget gap they've been experiencing the past five years.
The vote came after years of discussion and meetings that included comments from concerned parents like David Apkarian.
Prior to the vote, Apkarian hoped the board would make a decision that the community could embrace.
"I think the board made the right decision," he said. "It's time to put a long-term, viable plan in place as we go forward to make sure we don't have these discussions year after year."
Some board members are worried that not closing Birchwood could mean some programs could be cut and resources could shrink in an attempt to close the budget gap. They asked for the public's help to find ways to generate revenue for the district.
Apkarian said Niskayuna residents are ready for the challenge.
"The school board has basically charged the public that we now all need to become one team to the district, think district-wide and help them make the decision," he said. "The group that I've been working with for the last few weeks is energized and charged."
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