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Future use of school buildings proposed to close

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Albany/HV: Future use of school buildings proposed to close
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KINGSTON, N.Y. -- Several schools in the Kingston School District are facing closure and county officials already have plans lined up if three of the city's elementary schools are closed.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, along with Ulster County Community College President Donald Katt, have proposed a plan that would use Sophie Finn, Zena or Anna Devine as a satellite building for SUNY Ulster.

All three schools are under consideration for closing as the district continues to see dropping enrollment and tightening budgets.

The proposal is in preliminary stages and hasn't been brought forward to either the city or college school boards. But the proposal could save SUNY Ulster nearly $22 million over 10 years.

Katt says having a satellite campus could help better prepare local students for college.

"If we can work with the high schools and identify 11th grade students who still need to build their skills in reading, writing and math and work with them in their senior year to get college ready, I think that's going to be a tremendous step forward," Katt said.

Hein says that it will cost $4.5 million to retrofit the building. That cost could get picked up by SUNY Capital funds. The governor's office has also offered to help identify funding.

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