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LANCASTER MAY REOPEN SCHOOL CLOSED IN '79 REFERENDUM LIKELY EARLY NEXT YEAR TO REHABILITATE CENTRAL AVE. BUILDING

Central Avenue School, closed in 1979 because of declining enrollment, may reopen next fall.

The Lancaster Central School Board voted, 6-1, Monday night to schedule a bond referendum to rehabilitate the school for classroom use. If approved, residents would pay 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the $1.5 million project, which includes general construction, plumbing, heating and electrical work.

"Basically the building is in good shape," board President Thomas Van Nortwick said. "It's just there are things like the showers in the gym that haven't been used in years and will have to be looked at."

A vote is expected early next year.

The board backed Superintendent Joseph L. Girardi's recommendation on the best way to deal with overcrowding at the four elementary schools.

Reopening Central Avenue and minor redistricting involving other schools will affect about 400 pupils, the least disruptive move, Girardi said. As many as 1,000 of Lancaster's nearly 2,000 elementary pupils could have been reassigned under one option to realign the elementary schools into two primary and two intermediate facilities, Girardi said.

Central Avenue is expected to enroll 242 pupils; Court Street, 401; Como Park, 441; Sciole, 438, and Hillview, 415.

In each case the building will have ample space for classrooms and special rooms, such as reading and music. Special education also will be housed in all elementary schools, and there is enough space to accommodate full-day kindergarten, which the district is considering.

Central Avenue, the first of two schools in the late 1970s and early 1980s to be closed because of declining enrollment, has been leased to community groups.

Other benefits of reopening the Central Avenue building include maintaining a program for kindergarten through the fifth grade and maintaining a neighborhood school.

Vice President Mary Lucariello, who voted to close Central in the late 1970s,had promised not to reopen it. But she said Girardi raised some valid points.

Board member William Janiga cast the only vote opposing the reopening.

"It doesn't address the total picture of education in Lancaster," he said. Parents and residents who attended four informational meetings and a public hearing on the issue considered several options, including redistricting and constructing additions on the elementary schools.

Also Monday, trustees approved a three-year agreement with the Lancaster Administrators and Supervisory Association. The pact means annual increases of about $4,000 a year for administrators, slightly less for supervisors.

Association members had been working without a contract since July 1. The pay increases amount to about 7, 6.5 and 6 percent for the three years.

The association represents school principals, assistant principals, the transportation supervisor, superintendent of buildings and grounds and food service director.

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