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Hopes aired on aid from the state

Lancaster School Superintendent Edward J. Myszka expressed hope Monday that a tentative state budget deal reached over the weekend could mean, at least, a smaller cut in state aid for the district than was proposed under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's plan.

Under the governor's plan, the district was looking at a $3 million cut in aid, which would result in unspecified layoffs of teachers, administrative staff and support staff, Myska said before going into executive session at the conclusion of Monday's regular School Board session at William Street Elementary School.

"Everything is on the table," Myszka said.

Both he and Assistant Superintendent for Business Jamie Phillips expressed hope that the cuts will not be as severe as initially proposed under Cuomo's budget plan.

"We have the governor's proposal. Hopefully, [today] the Legislative proposal will come and those numbers will be a little bit better," Phillips said.

State lawmakers hope to release aid figures for individual districts on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, about three-quarters of Monday's hour-and-15-minute School Board meeting was devoted to presentations by students and staff stressing the value of programs and services in the district. They included a presentation by fifth-graders who took part in the district's "Odyssey of the Mind" creative solving program and another by the district's social workers and clinicians.

Julie Cassel, a fifth-grade teacher in the district who heads the Odyssey of the Mind program, expressed hope that extra enrichment money would be availble for the program next year -- "Because these kids are going all the way next year," she said.

Peggy Barrett, a clinician in the district, joined guidance counselors and school psychologists to explain the scope and variety of services they provide, including diagnosing and assessing anxieties and psycho-social problems confronted by students.


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