Why This Is Important
The Baldwin Union Free School District is facing a deficit of over $4.4MM for the coming fiscal year. This is largely the result of reduced state aid, due to the current economic crisis. The district is considering closing and/or merging one or more Baldwin elementary schools to address the future deficit issue. Schools being considered for closings would yield marginal cost savings of less than $500,000 per school, on average.
As parents, teachers, friends, family and community members, we support the rich tradition of Baldwin’s neighborhood schools and oppose any closure. We believe there are alternatives to solving this crisis. This is a temporary budgetary crisis that is being met with drastic and permanent solutions. Closing and consolidating elementary schools threatens neighborhoods by reducing property values, causing an exodus of homeowners, and eliminating a community focal point. Studies show smaller neighborhood schools reduce the achievement gap, provide better education and bridge socio-economic differences.
It is time for a moratorium on school closings! Parents, teachers and other staff will be given inadequate advance notice of plans to close schools. More time is needed to make a thorough assessment and contingent plans. We need a thoughtful and unbiased assessment of the current fiscal situation by an independent outside party who can make an informed recommendation of how best to address this fiscal issue. Any solution should have meaningful cost savings, with minimal adverse consequences to our children and our community. We need to impose a moratorium on school closings until a thorough, unbiased and independent assessment is performed.
We need to protect our children's future and our voices need to be heard!