Glen Rock Board of Education to hold special budget meeting Saturday morning

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In continuing its work on the 2017-18 school budget, the Board of Education will be holding a special budget meeting Saturday morning, at 8:30 a.m. at the Dario Varcarel Media Center in the high school.

As it tries to put together what board president Bryon Torsiello called a “challenging’’ budget, the board, at its Feb. 13 meeting, voted to consider dropping six Glen Rock Middle School sports programs. Following a backlash by residents at that news, the board has sought to get the message out that the decision to cut the sports was preliminary, and not final. At the same time Torsiello was speaking to BTN, schools superintendent Paula Valenti emailed a letter to parents of GRMS students saying that.

In a Feb. 16 interview with Banana Tree News, Torsiello said the middle school sports programs being targeted are sports that are considered redundant – in that they are offered by the borough in recreational leagues and travel teams. The six sports are boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, and baseball and softball. Three sports that are not offered in any form by the borough – cross country, volleyball and track and field – would not be dropped.

Torsiello would not tell BTN how much cutting the six programs would save the district, nor could he say how much the school district gets from the activity fees it charges students in the middle school and high school who play sports. The subject of those activity fees will be part of the budget discussions as well – whether to keep the fees as they are, or raise, lower or eliminate them. That information, he said, would be discussed at board meetings. Currently, the activity fee for the high school is $150, and for the middle school it is $75.

Saturday’s meeting is one of two additional meetings the board has scheduled to discuss the budget, and the public is welcome to attend. The other meeting is scheduled for Mar. 8 at 7 p.m. In addition, there are regularly scheduled meetings this Monday, Feb. 27 and Mar. 6. Torsiello said the board would likely want to finalize the budget by sometime in mid-March.

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