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Beekmantown High School Principal Diane Fox will take over July 1 as the next superintendent of the Saranac Lake Central School District. Photo: Chris Knight, via <a href="http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/536215/Meet-Diane-Fox.html?nav=5008">Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a>
Beekmantown High School Principal Diane Fox will take over July 1 as the next superintendent of the Saranac Lake Central School District. Photo: Chris Knight, via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Incoming SL school super: the problem is money

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Many school districts in the North Country face cutting staff and programming in order to trim their budgets and stay under the state's property tax cap. Some are showing signs of serious financial stress.

Just last month, Tupper Lake School District leaders said the district could become insolvent and may have to close its doors in a few years unless it gets more state aid.

Neighboring Saranac Lake Central is struggling to find a way to preserve its core programs while closing a more than $1 million budget gap.

The district recently hired a new superintendent, Diane Fox, who said working within its budget constraints will be her biggest challenge.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Diane Fox, who's currently principal of Beekmantown High School, was appointed as Saranac Lake's new superintendent on March 20. She won't start work until July 1, but she's already aware that preserving the district's educational programs, given its fiscal constraints, will be a top priority. "I was asked that at the interview, too," she said. "It's certainly something that Beekmantown is talking about all the time, so I'm not new to that discussion in any way."

Fox said the discussion has already started in Saranac Lake, referencing a "listening tour" school officials conducted earlier this year where they asked people to identify programs that they'd like to see preserved. Music and art programs topped that list. "I think we have to start with an understanding of what the core value is in the community and the school, and keep that in mind as we look at decreasing some of the things that we do," Fox said. "We also have to look at other resources, things we haven't looked to before, like [North Country] Community College, Paul Smith's College. Are there resources they could bring to bear, things we could to together?"

Fox said seeking grants and other opportunities for funding has to be another priority.

The Saranac Lake and Lake Placid school boards recently agreed to pursue grant funding for a consolidation study of the two districts. Fox said she thinks that's something that deserves a hard look. "We would be remiss as a school district not investigating every opportunity we have to make sure our students are supported while taking care of our taxpayers and making sure we're using their money judiciously."

Fox will take over July 1 as Saranac Lake's new superintendent of schools, replacing Gerald Goldman, who is retiring. Details of her contract are still being worked out.

 

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