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February 13, 2013

School plan would move sixth grade up

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — A proposal to move sixth-grade classes from the elementary to the middle school will be suggested at a future Oneonta City School District Board of Education meeting, Interim Superintendent David Rowley said. It’s one of the proposals needed to close an upcoming $1.5 million budget gap, he said, as Oneonta, like other area school districts, deals with tough economic times and a reduction in state aid.

Most of the total spending hikes are required, including increases to the teacher and employee retirement system, health insurance and a 2.9-percent increase for instructional and non-instructional staff, he said.

The proposal is expected to be made at the March 6 board meeting, with a decision possible later in the month. The topic was discussed at Wednesday’s board of education meeting at the high school

The proposal, which is still being developed, could provide savings from cuts in two teaching positions, said Rowley.

He was not prepared to say how much would be saved, but “we wouldn’t be looking at it if it wasn’t significant,” he said.

Of the 31 schools that were surveyed about the middle school, only four were composed of seventh and eighth grades. Most had a sixth-to-eighth grade arrangement.

As the board makes the decisions needed to create a budget in April, to go before voters in May, “it will have to look at everything,” including administration, special education, arts, sports and music, he said.