Newburgh's $8.9 million budget gap may mean school closure, half day kindergarten

A school classroom. (2012)

A school classroom. (2012) (Credit: John Paraskevas)

Facing a $8.9 million budget deficit, some Newburgh elementary schools may be on the chopping block and kindergarten could be reduced to half days, officials said Thursday.

Newburgh will discuss closing Vails Gate, Balmville or Horizons-on-the Hudson elementary schools on Thursday.

The city school district is facing the huge deficit even after the state budget finalized last Friday increased education spending statewide by almost $1 billion, according to a letter from Superintendent Ralph Pizzo. The district's 2012-13 budget was about $230 million.

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The more than 11,000 student school district has nine elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school with two campuses. The district was recently reconfigured in an effort to improve performance in a low-income district that had a 63 percent graduation rate in June 2011.

In prior years the district has cut hundreds of employee positions and closed the West Street School in 2012.

Other program and staff reductions also will be discussed at the budget workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. at Meadow Hill School, 124 Meadow Hill Rd. Newburgh.

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