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‘Fiscal cliff' imperils 20 positions

Frontier School District officials intend to lobby for federal grant money to remain intact for the 2013-14 school year so that 20 teaching positions continue to be funded, along with the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, special education needs and staff development.

Superintendent James C. Bodziak warned the School Board Tuesday that if federal grant money dries up next year, there would be no way that the district's general fund could cover 20 teaching positions and other programs that are now covered by the grants.

The School Board plans to vote Dec. 4 on a message to the federal government, urging funds be kept in place and amend the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Frontier is following a lead pushed by the New York State School Boards Association. In Frontier's case, Bodziak estimated that federal grants to the district total a little more than $2 million. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, unless Congress intervenes, an across-the-board budget cut is due to occur Jan. 2 – potentially affecting the district's 2013-14 school year.

Another presentation at Frontier's meeting Tuesday showcased how the district is addressing common core standards and assessments in elementary math.

"We are looking at fewer topics, but [fostering] a deeper understanding with more critical thinking and application of knowledge," said Mary Ann Costello, assistant superintendent for curriculum. "We have to be sure that students really master content because math builds like a house, from the basement up."

Like many other local districts, Frontier still uses the Everyday Math curriculum, but has been forced to supplement with other resources to address gaps that Everyday Math does not cover.

District officials noted that only 30 percent of the Everyday Math curriculum addresses the standards.