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."