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Ichabod Crane budget cuts focus on sports, fun

Feb 10, 2011 9:42 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Ichabod Crane High School sports fans, as seen on the school's website."][/caption]The Ichabod Crane School District held its third Community Forum on Tuesday, January 8, trying to wrestle with a budget rising without the school board or administration doing anything new. Past sessions have seen the district and its residents packing the high school auditorium to discuss possible closure of elementary schools, diminishment of kindergarten classes to a half day schedule, the ending of all pre-K programs, cutting a number of electives, sports and other extracurricular activities, and possible merger with another school district. This week's talk, covered in the Register-Star as well as on the school district's website, focused on what might happen if the district is not allowed to raise its taxes, and how announced aid cuts will hurt existing programs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget would cut state aid to Ichabod Crane by $1.7 million. This week's topic, Athletics and Extracurricular Activities, was launched with administrators noting that 31.99 percent of middle schoolers and 38.64 percent of high schoolers participated in sports in 2010-2011, a total of 367 out of 1,001 students. Sports at all levels — modified, junior varsity and varsity — cost a total of $412,942 for operating and transportation costs. This did not include football, which is paid for by its booster club. It was also noted that there were 35 high school clubs and activities, such as the Crane Acting Troupe, the Yearbook, the Ski Club and the Students Against Violating Earth; and 15 in the middle school, such as the Newspaper, Select Band, Peer Mediation and Future Cities. The extracurricular costs for the high school were $47,718; for the middle school, $17,236; with other expenses being $7,025, for a total of $71,979. Almost to a person, district residents spoke in favor of sports programs, music programs, and other elements that helped students with college applications, which want to see extracurricular activities. Others spoke about forcing concessions from district teachers, cutting activities with fewer students, and the possibility of setting up an extracurricular fundraising group. The next forum will be 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the high school auditorium, and will address the topic of transportation.
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