In response to the Kingston School Districts consolidation plans, some of the surrounding communities could be looking into creating their own school district. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the new proposal.
ESOPUS, N.Y. -- “We should investigate some of these opportunities to form a school district of our own because we don’t have to be in a city school district,” said Saint Remy resident Susan Wick.
Susan Wick speaks on her proposal she presented at a Rosendale Town Board meeting, suggesting the Esopus and Rosendale towns withdraw from the Kingston School District and form their own.
“We are outside the city limits. There are other options,” said Wick. “One is a union free school district.”
It’s an idea proposed in response to the slated closure of Anna Devine Elementary School in Esopus, which could potentially impact children in both areas. She says they shouldn’t have to suffer because of the financial issues of the Kingston School District.
“I talked to the town supervisors about it and they thought it was a grand idea to investigate, so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Wick.
And Wick says she’ll do that will lots of community support.
“People are there going, ‘Yes! Let’s go! Let’s see what we can do on our own,’” said Wick.
Rosendale residents are open to the idea as there are currently two vacant schools in the town. Tillson Elementary was closed by the Kingston School District in 1984 and Rosendale Elementary was closed by the Rondout School District a year ago.
“I think that could be a good idea. Keep the kids closer to home,” said Tillson resident Richard Aldridge.
“It would be nice that it would afford these kids in rural areas outside of the city the chance to stay in this area rather than be bused into Kingston,” said Rosendale resident Shane McKane.
Both town supervisors will take a look to see if it’s feasible, although they do have some apprehensions.
“The rules, regulations and cost would be a concern to both the Supervisor in Rosendale and myself,” said Town of Esopus Supervisor John Coutant.
Officials say they recognize attendance is decreasing and demographics are changing, but say closing three more schools isn’t the answer.
“People are very angry. People are disgusted,” said Town of Rosendale Councilman Bob Ryan.
“We want our children back in the heart and soul of our communities and that is our objective,” said Wick.
The two other schools slated for closure are Zena Elementary and Sophie Finn Elementary.
The Kingston school board plans to vote on the proposal to close those three elementary schools at a special meeting on August 30th.
Kingston City School District Superintendent Paul Padalino was unavailable for comment.