Parents can find their children’s bus schedules, times and places for pick up and drop off, at their local elementary schools, at the Middle/High school office, the guidance office, and the transportation office. School officials advise that, as new bus routes get ironed out, it is helpful for the first few days of school to arrive at the child’s bus stop a little early and to practice patience if the bus arrives slightly later or earlier than expected. Any major delays should be reported to the district’s transportation department by calling 657-2537.
Budget cuts and fewer enrolled students have led to some changes for the coming academic year.
Phoenicia and Bennett elementary schools will have only one section each of Kindergarten classes, down from two in each building. Bennett’s incoming Kindergarten population is 23 and Phoenicia has only 18 students. Woodstock Elementary continues to maintain two Kindergarten classrooms with a total of 31 students (15 and 16 for each class).
Five teachers were laid off as a result of budget cuts, mostly from the secondary level, thus eliminating a Middle School team. Declining enrollment played a role in the board’s decision targeting these particular lay-offs. But, according to district officials, classroom size will not increase as a result of the staff reductions. Principal of the Middle School Jennifer O’Connor said Grades seven and eight total 236 students “give or take as the new year begins,” with an average classroom size of 20.
However, with changes taking place in education standards, the district found it needed four new teachers — an elementary teacher, English as Second Language teacher and, at the Middle school level, a Technology teacher and Family and Consumer Science teacher.
Additionally due to budget cuts parents will not be receiving school calendars in the mail this year. The calendar had, in previous years, listed school closings, meetings and special events. Information now can be found by going to the District website at Onteora.k12.ny.us. Anyone without access to the website can request a paper copy of the calendar by contacting the Central office at 657-6383.
The district also purchased a new-lighted electronic sign for the front of the Middle/High School Boiceville site on Route 28. Purchased in the spring of the 2010, the sign was just recently installed for the incoming school year. The purchase was funded through a collaborative effort between the Middle/High School and Central office but the exact cost was not available.++