East Ramapo teachers brace for job cuts

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East Ramapo Central School District superintendent Ira Oustacher has presented his $201 million budget proposal, under which Lime Kiln Elementary School will be shut down, 60 jobs will be eliminated and class sizes will be increased.

Although the proposed measures are not popular among local teachers and parents, both the superintendent and the director of business operations say the current state of the economy leaves them with few choices.

"We have to come forward with a fiscally responsible plan," Oustacher says. "No one likes to close the schools, but the reality is for us we've lost 2,600 students in the last 20 years."

School Board President Nathan Rothschild believes there may be other ways to balance the budget.

"It disturbs me when we have to consider selling a building or buildings," he says. "It concerns me when we're talking about laying off teachers; it concerns me when the state in essence is shirking its responsibility."

The East Ramapo School Board is expected to go over the budget proposal Sunday. The public session will be held at the administration building on South Madison Avenue at 1 p.m.

The board has until April 24 to adopt the budget before it goes to the voters May 19 for final approval.

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