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Democrat Photo by John Emerson

AND A CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM: Several children like this youngster helped dig the first shovelfuls of dirt at the site of the new Monticello Middle School on Sunday. They represented every grade level.

New Middle School Is Coming

By John Emerson
MONTICELLO — March 28, 2000 -- A pile of sand, gold-painted shovels and a dozen hardhats were the props Sunday as a dozen students from Monticello’s schools symbolically broke ground to begin construction of the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School.
“Children are the reason we’re all here today,” schools superintendent Eileen Casey told the audience of about 300 who had gathered to witness the event. “This [new building] will touch the life of every student within this 192-square-mile school district.”
The new school building, the first in more than 30 years in the county’s largest school district, is part of an overall construction program that will impact all of the district’s six school buildings, from Wurtsboro to White Lake. Dubbed “Classroom 2000” when the $34.1 million bond issue was presented to voters about three years ago, the project was delayed when a small taxpayer group filed suit seeking to overturn the election results. The middle school building was originally planned for opening this year.
About $4 million in technical upgrades of computer and communications systems, also part of the Classroom 2000 project, have already begun.
The project includes adding classrooms to the Cooke and Rutherford schools in Monticello, as well as increasing the size of the Duggan School in White Lake and Chase School in Wurtsboro.
Among the dignitaries who spoke at the event prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking were former New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lawrence Cooke, a Monticello alumnus, and Edward McCormick, president of the New York State School Boards Association, a public school lobbying group.
The new middle school is currently scheduled to open in time for the first day of school in the fall of 2001. Plans call for the classroom expansion projects at the other schools to be ready at various times between this fall and 2001.

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