The West Islip School District could lose at least one school because of declining enrollment and budgetary constraints.

A committee of parents, residents and district employees is considering 11 possible options, most of which involve shuttering one or two campuses, possibly including a middle school.

The district presented the proposals Tuesday night to some 600 parents, many of whom were upset about the potential loss of their neighborhood schools. Superintendent Richard Simon said he understands their concerns.

"These are very painful, difficult decision for any district to wrestle with," he said. "There is a very emotional connection between parents and their elementary schools, and we are aware of that."

The district has six elementary, two middle and one high school. It serves about 5,100 students, down from about 6,000 in the early 2000s, the superintendent said.

Some of the elementary schools are running at just 50 percent capacity. Simon said they should be at 80 percent.

He said, too, that the district -- which has a $107 million budget -- will be approximately $6 million over next year if it does not make changes ahead of the new, 2 percent property-tax cap.

West Islip laid off 35 people last year, including five administrators, 20 teachers and 10 support staff. It also cut summer school and its elementary foreign language program. The district reduced the hours of its elementary school librarians from full to half time and eliminated administrative positions, including a math and foreign language director. It also axed its public relations position.

Simon said the teachers union agreed earlier this year to forgo a scheduled 1.5 percent raise and 2.5 percent step increase for six months, saving the district $1 million. Members will also contribute an additional 2 percent to their health care costs, pushing their share to 17 percent.

The 35-member committee will submit a final report to the board of education Nov. 9. The board expects to make a decision by February.

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Uniondale gas station robbery ... Public lewdness arrest ... FeedMe: North Fork Credit: Newsday

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