KC board deserves praise for openness amid decisions

One week ago tonight, the Keystone Central School Board voted to adopt a $73.2 million budget for 2018-19.

The vote came after essentially 10 months of what we can accurately describe as grueling information-gathering, discussion and decision-making … decisions that meant 34 teachers have lost their jobs at Keystone, while other positions and programs were cut or consolidated.

The roughly $8 million in cost-cutting has been correctly described as “rightsizing” due to Keystone’s student enrollment dropping by 10.2 percent over the last six years.

The breadth of change is still sinking in … and we’re told more is coming.

But we want to applaud the school board for its transparency and willingness to listen to any and all stakeholders during the process.

The citizens’ task force was effective, and citizen input moving forward remains critical to the buy-in. Indeed, it’s been a long time since the Keystone Central School Board was so open to ideas to deal with such tough circumstances.

We’re too dramatic, you say?

Dozens of people lost their jobs.

Class sizes will be impacted.

But leadership is new and emerging.

Will the board’s relationship with the Association of Clinton County Educators change, too?

Is the ACCE willing to step foward publicly to show a working relationship on the issues?

What more important role must teachers play in the second round of a citizens’ task force as the board copes with cost overruns for 2019-20?

Will Keystone now get back to a path of better long-term financial planning and management?

Is an alumni association in its future to bring back graduates to re-invigorate the district?

And will the district learn to better empower student leaders to help cultivate pride from within?

It’s time to set a new tone when talking about Keystone.

Otherwise, this area’s population will continue to stagnate.

Change is palpable at KCSD.

We’d rather call it a transformation. We sincerely hope there is transformation in the classrooms, hallways and offices — and in community perception — so that there is a collective, renewed commitment to grow achievement and pride in Keystone.