Friday, 05 March 2010 00:00
Many people are upset about the concept of closing some of our elementary schools. However, I believe that we need to look at what is best for the entire district. Few, if any, districts on Long Island run two elementary schools as small as Meadow Drive and Hampton Street. The consolidation of our schools will save programs for the entire district and could actually make it possible to improve some of them.
As things stand, if cuts need to be made, it will be done in programs such as sports and music, and they will be made at the high school and middle school level. This means that sports and music programs will not be there when our present elementary school children reach these higher schools. We need to start looking at the long-term effects of our budget and not planning one year at a time.
There are many advantages, not only financial, of consolidating the elementary grades. For one thing, we won’t have 12-14 children in a class in some of our elementary schools and 25 or more in others. For another, we will have less administrative and operational costs. Through consolidation, all the elementary children will have the opportunity to receive exactly the same education and curriculum.
Despite the worries and protestations that an extra school transition will decimate the academic achievement and increase the behavioral problems of our children, there is no evidence of such impact. Reality is that the district will save millions of dollars, and through proper planning the “fear” of transitioning can be mitigated. With the savings from consolidation, we can actually improve programs in the district while minimizing the long-term tax increases.