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CITY SCHOOLS: Plowing ahead with alternatives

There are some impressive discussions and considerations taking place in the Dunkirk City School District. Last week, Superintendent Michael Mansfield took on a potential shortfall that looms for the district in 2023 by looking at new alternatives.

“We’re spending more than we make,” Mansfield said at the workshop. “A lot has gone into that including the (payment in lieu of taxes) which is shrinking from the NRG plant (closing) and a flat state aid revenue for the last several years. The board is not looking to cut staff, but we have to do better for our students.”

Dunkirk’s school budget is more than $46 million. If board members and administration do not want to reduce staffing for an enrollment of 2,000 students, they must look at being creative.

Some of the plans include the reduction of one elementary building and distributing the population to the remaining five buildings. The most popular option would keep grade levels from kindergarten to three in the remaining elementary buildings. Grades four and five would head to the middle school with grade six. Grades seven with eight would be moving to the high school, joining the upperclassmen.

There’s still a lot to be worked out, but Dunkirk — to its credit — is not waiting to see if the state will drop some magical money in their laps. It is, instead, being proactive and looking for alternatives.

Excellent.

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