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Somber Christmas in Marlboro

December 26th, 2012

Not long after a group of students were honored for earning the title of “Student of the Month,” Marlboro Central School District’s Dec. 20 Board of Education meeting took a more somber turn.

In his report, Director of Facilities Lawrence Cavazza explained that he and Superintendent Ray Castellani had begun taking a closer look at the two elementary schools that may be closed next school year. He said they are exploring a possible joint venture with the town of Marlborough that would turn at least one of the buildings into office space.

“We’re looking at all our options,” Cavazza said.

On a brighter note, Castellani thanked the new director for his hard work, explaining that since August, Cavazza had saved the district $18,500 by tackling many maintenance projects himself.

Next, the school board accepted several resignations and retirements, including that of elementary school teacher Gail Minard. And although the agenda called for them to hire Sandra Romero to the position of senior account clerk/typist assigned to the central office, they held off on making that decision since they are currently exploring the possibility of sharing such services with neighboring school districts or BOCES.

In keeping with their promise of mid-year cuts, the school board agreed to abolish several positions, including one school psychologist, two classroom aides, two computer aides, one typist and one database clerk, “for reasons of economy and efficiency.” The terminations will be effective Jan. 25.

Also effective next month, Maureen Moore’s position as library media specialist will be reduced from full-time to part-time and Ann Marie Festa and Deborah Bleski’s positions as school nurse teacher will be reduced to nurse.

While board members agreed to pay stipends to two employees who have filled the positions of lead operations and district-wide custodian since July, they expressed a desire to discuss eliminating those stipends in the future.

As further cost saving measures, the Board of Education authorized the superintendent to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Marlboro Faculty Association offering a special teacher retirement incentive and school board President Stephen Jennison reported that he sent a letter to each of the district’s bargaining units asking them to consider renegotiating their contracts in light of the current “state of emergency.”

“I await their response,” Jennison said.

Before closing the meeting, Castellani explained that he had recently met with the superintendent of the Highland Central School District about sharing central office services starting in 2013-2014. He said he expects to hear a response in January.

The Marlboro Central School District Board of Education will hold a workshop meeting on Jan. 3.

By Jessica Murray

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