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District to Close 2 Elementary Schools

Board has yet to determine which two, will announce decision on Jan. 12.

In an effort to help the school district find cost savings, the West Islip Board of Education has unanimously decided to close two elementary schools, effective for the 2012-13 school year. 

At a planning session Tuesday night, BOE President Steve Gellar announced the Board's decision in front of a small group of residents inside the high school auditorium. Two weeks after narrowing down their consideration to , the Board chose option 2a, which will save the district an estimated $2.4 million to $3.2 million.

The remaining four elementary schools will continue to hold grades K-5.  Gellar said it has yet to be determined which two schools will close. 

Superintendent Rick Simon said it was an extremely difficult recommendation to make, but credited declining enrollment as a main benefactor. 

"It was not an easy task," he said. "I want to thank the community, I think you’ve heard a lot of compelling arguments. I think it's what’s best educationally for our students and fiscally for our community.  

"I think it’s the least disruptive to students. We know that our K-5 enrollment will decline over the next few years. While it will be a little bit of a tight fit at first, each year after that will get more comfortable."

Gellar announced the Board's decision following the public speaking portion of the meeting, where several parents stated their case against closing certain schools.

The Board will announce their final closing decision at a meeting on January 12. 

"This is not a decision I thought I’d face sitting on the Board of Education," said Annmarie Larosa, vice president.  "As this process moves forward, it is my hope that the community continues to be part of this process."

Sally December 12, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Same goes............said my piece and I'm out. May all have a Happy and Healthy New Year................
dorothy December 12, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Jessica, I would not try to tell anyone what is appropriate after what you wrote about Bellew last week and the children. You are applauded by many around for fighting for your "great" school, who can blame any mom for wanting the most for her children. But should not be so quick to criticize other "great" schools. Your fight is almost done here but if you really want to tackle an issue why don't you see how many West Islip residents would be willing to campaign to get the voters to exceed the 2% cap to cover some of the costs and save an elementary school. To Sally, Nancy and Marianne well said. Many of us are understanding of the fact that 2 elementary schools would be hard, but at the same time I am all for leaving our middle schools in place as I have a 5th and 6th grader and would not want them "held back" and feel with all we pay the kids should have it all around here even Sports. I personally find giving any point of view here a waste of time on a subject that has been decided. Wishing EVERYONE peaceful holidays.
Irene December 12, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Phew!
Jessica Horvath December 12, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Excuse me, Dorothy, what did I write about Bellew? That I have a safety issue with it?That it was zoned for commercial use already?I never said anything negative against Bellew. I truly do feel nervous driving by Bellew when I see kids on the playground! Is that bashing Bellew? Actually, it is a genuine concern for your kids who are in there. You have got to be kidding me. I have never bashed any school. I don't know what you are talking about. And Dorothy, I wouldn't vote out the tax cap even to save an ES. That's ridiculous.
Jessica Horvath December 12, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Yes I saw they were also removed because they were on the thread that you started, so when you delete it everything goes away with it. Strange that you would delete it is all I am saying. It's a valid point that the money you would have had to spend to reconfigure everything would have been factored into the equation. Unless of course there is some other motive and they were never goingto consider option 9A to begin with.

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