Camden (WSYR-TV) -- There’s been a bit of controversy in Camden over the idea of closing an elementary school.
The Camden Central School District says the option needs to be considered, ahead of another difficult budget year, but parents are fighting to keep the Oneida County school open.
Three-year-old Sarah just started Pre-K at her neighborhood elementary school – North Bay Elementary School.
“She’s in a great school. Everybody seems to know her right off the bat,” said her father and Camden Educational Oversight Association President Peter Fitzgerald.
But her small school may not be open much longer. The district says it's dealing with declining State aid, lower enrollment and a property tax cap which is tying the district’s hand for revenue. So, it says it needs to consider consolidation to save money.
“Many of our residents are on fixed incomes and frankly, they’re taxed out, so we are looking at ways to be financially responsible to our taxpayers and academically responsible to our students,” said Superintendent Jeffrey Bryant.
North Bay is one of the schools being considered for closure. An effort that would save the district $750,000.
Parents say they want more answers and other money-saving options.
Patricia Hansen went to the same school as her children and says the district needs to realize the impact of closing a local school. Even more importantly, she says the district is the second largest in the state geographically – covering more than 300 square miles.
“We have many more years that this will affect our family and any family in our district,” said Hansen.
“Our parents are extremely passionate about their neighborhood schools and rightly so,” said Superintendent Bryant. “But we’re looking out for the entire Camden School District.”
There is a meeting at the Camden High School at 7 PM Tuesday night. The district could make a decision on whether to close a school as soon as November.