Program For Dyslexic Students Would
Employ 25, Have $1.25 Million Budget
OTEGO – The Kildonan School, known nationally for educating dyslexic children at its Dutchess County campus, announced today it is about to submit a proposal to buy the former Otego Elementary School.
A team from Kildonan toured the school on June 7.
At first, the facility would employ 25 people, with a total estimated payroll of over $1.2 million.
Based in Amenia, Kilonan is partnering with SUNY Oneonta’s Leatherstocking Dyslexia Center to buy the building and its contents.
Attendance would be free for eligible students, who would receive same resources Kildonan’s private boarding and day program offers for $70,000 a year.
“The wealthy have been able to access this method since it was developed 60 or 70 years ago,” Kildonan Headmaster Kevin Pendergast said. “We want to provide access to this necessary, important form of remediation to the non-wealthy, the working class, the middle class.”
Students, grades 2-12, from districts within ONC and DCM BOCES could be eligible to be placed in the school as early as September if the proposal is accepted. There are 1,500 students in the two BOCES with learning disabilities that might be eligible, according to a press release received today from Kildonan.
The Unatego Central School District closed Otego Elementary School in 2017 and it is now up for sale.
“This could be a game changer,” Leatherstocking Dyslexia Center’s Kimberly More said.
Unatego Superintendent of Schools Dave Richards said he support the undertaking. “There is no specialized program for dyslexics in our area,” Richards wrote in his letter of support. “As a result, many of these students are not receiving the program best suited for their learning disability.”
Kildonan’s Orton-Gillingham technique includes daily, one-to-one tutoring sessions and small class sizes.
A current assistant headmaster from Kildonan would relocate to the Otego area with his family to run the school. Leatherstocking Dyslexia Center’s More would be a co-head of the school.
Kildonan Leatherstocking’s revenues would come from pass-through funds schools already receive, typically $20,000 and $40,000 per student. In some cases, teachers already working in local districts could be trained to work at Kildonan Leatherstocking.
Students would remain enrolled in their regular districts and could participate in sports and other after school activities there if they wished.
Additionally, Kildonan Leatherstocking is seeking up to $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds. That application is also in process.