Parents challenge possible school changes
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Two of the five options still include closing East School and using it as an administrative building, and either spreading students throughout the remaining three elementary schools, or putting Pre-K through second grade in Lido and West schools, and third through fifth grades in Lindell. Another option calls for turning Lido into an early learning center, housing Pre-K through first grade, and having second to fifth grades at East, West and Lindell. A fourth option proposed housing Pre-K to second grade at East, West and Lido, and putting third to fifth just at Lindell. And, Weiss said, the option of making no changes still remains on the table.
Weiss said the administration will now determine staffing, transportation and costs for all options, and that he would present the financial data at the Jan. 14 board meeting. On Jan. 21, the district will hold a public forum on the matter. The school board may make a decision in February, said President Pat Gallagher.
“The options we presented here are all viable,” Weiss said. “Ultimately, this is a question of values, not a question of mechanics. What do we think is important?”
About 20 parents voiced their disapproval of some of the options, with the main complaint revolving around class size. Under the proposed changes, Weiss predicted that class sizes would increase to 22 students for kindergarten to first grade, 23 students for second and third grades and 24 students for fourth and fifth grades, up from an average of 20 students currently.
“There’s a direct correlation between increased class sizes and lower test scores, less learning, more [academic intervention services],” said parent and Seaford High School teacher Matt Adler. “I just don’t see it as an option.”
Many said that because kids are struggling with the new Common Core curriculum, it’s not a good time to be expanding class sizes. Additionally, the state education department recently identified Lindell as a low-performing school, and parents thought it could be damaging to make changes to an already at-risk school.