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Carthage Central plans future public forum

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GREAT BEND — Carthage Central School District will give the public several opportunities for an open dialogue.

After a lively public forum June 11, the Board of Education decided at the July 8 meeting that the next forum will be Sept. 18.

At previous meetings, board members discussed having multiple forums throughout the school year.

Board member Lyndsey M. Hodkinson said comment boxes should be placed at each school for people who could not attend a forum. No decision was reached last week.

Superintendent Peter J. Turner said the district will better use Black River Elementary, a topic that was discussed extensively at the previous forum.

“We’re looking at a bus run shift,” he said. “It would tentatively shift 51 students from West Carthage to Black River. This is a reaction to the forum.”

After the meeting, Mr. Turner said that this will affect only people on Fort Drum and that letters would be sent to gauge their reaction. He said the district spoke to officials on post several times to reach the decision.

“They believed those parents would be receptive to having their kids closer to post,” he said.

He said the bus ride time will not be significantly different, but Black River Elementary features smaller classes.

In other business, Business Manager Amy M. Marrocco said the district received its first high-impact aid check for $7.5 million from the federal government in May.

To receive high-impact aid, a district must have more than 50 percent military-related enrollment. Carthage was at 56 percent this year.

Mrs. Marrocco said that after speaking to Indian River Central Business Manager James R. Koch, she knows the district must keep the per-pupil cost less than the state or national average, whichever is higher.

If not, the district will be bumped back down to regular impact aid for the next three years.

She suggested the board use the money to pay off serial bonds in 2014-15, add buses to the next budget rather than put them in a separate proposition next year or ask voters whether the district can establish a $10 million capital reserve for future projects.

Because the money was received in May, the district will go into the school year with a bigger fund balance than expected, Mrs. Marrocco said.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” Mr. Turner said. “You don’t know when all that money is going to show in our bank account.”

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