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District to hold Future of Guilderland Schools Summit

UPDATED Nov. 14, 2014—Please note that as of Friday, Nov. 14, online registration has closed for the Nov. 19 Future of Guilderland Schools Summit.

The Guilderland Central School District is firmly committed to its mission. Each day we strive to provide a rich and rigorous program of study so that our students can achieve their highest potential. We work diligently to provide a safe, welcoming learning environment that nurtures and supports each child. However, fulfilling that mission has become more and more difficult after several years of dwindling resources.

As a result of these financial challenges, the district has had to eliminate 227 positions, restructure programs, find efficiencies, reduce energy consumption and step up its efforts to generate revenues through grant writing, and participation in regional initiatives. But these efforts are not enough. We know that we need to continue to assess our programming and our resources if we hope to continue to be a high performing, well regarded school district.

As part of that assessment, the district initiated a year-long building capacity study with an independent consultant. As a result of that study, district leaders determined that Guilderland is presently operating with a considerable amount of excess capacity. Learn more about the study The challenge before us now is to determine what that excess capacity might mean for us in light of our ongoing financial challenges.

To that end, the Guilderland Board of Education is leading a community-wide effort to seek local opinions on the future of our schools. On Wednesday, Nov. 19, the district will hold its first Future of Guilderland Schools Summit beginning at 6:45 p.m. at Tech Valley High School in Albany. At the summit, a diverse cross-section of district residents will help generate ideas about how best to address both our diminished resources and our excess capacity in the Guilderland Central School District.

Participants will work in small groups and engage in brainstorming and visioning discussions that will guide district leaders as they plan how best to use our available resources in the years to come. Specifically, attendees will be asked to answer the following essential question: How do we sustain our commitment to our core mission with the resources currently available to us?

Since the building capacity study was completed and the final report made available last spring, there has been widespread discussion throughout the community about how to proceed with addressing our capacity and resource issues. We realize that these issues evoke diverse opinions. We want to hear those opinions and find direction from among the many different voices that will attend the summit.

Nearly 100 community participants (the event maximum) have signed-up to attend the summit, representing a cross-section of the school community. We look forward to hearing from these community members as we plan for the future of our students and schools.