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Consultants who conducted reconfiguration study suggest 6 to 8 configuration, closing LE

Some parents at last week's school board meeting received some shocking news: their children's school might close.

In a presentation to Liverpool's board of education Monday Sept. 25, Castallo and Silky Consultants illustrated the results of the reconfiguration study they had been working on with the district for the last year. In an attempt to improve middle school education in Liverpool, the district commissioned the study last summer. Last week, the consultants made their recommendation to the board. Right now, Liverpool schools have kindergarten through sixth grade in the elementary schools and seventh and eighth in middle. The consultants recommended changing to kindergarten through fifth at the elementary level and sixth through eighth at the middle schools. Both Chestnut Hill Middle and Soule Road Middle already have the capacity to house sixth graders. Liverpool Middle does not. Thus, the consultants recommended closing Liverpool Elementary and turning it into a middle school annex.

"I was just flabbergasted," said Terri Cook, an LE parent and former Liverpool school board member. "I had sat in on at least half of the advisory board meetings and I had been with the board when we began this process, but I was not expecting this to be their recommendation."

Cook described the process by which the consultants decided to close LE. Given that LMS was not large enough as it stands to hold sixth as well as seventh and eighth graders, two options were available. Either a nine-room addition could be constructed onto LMS or one of the elementary schools that fed into it would have to be closed and turned into a middle school. Deeming the addition too expensive, the consultants opted for closing an elementary school.

The consultants then looked at the five schools that feed into LMS: LE, Elmcrest. Long Branch, Wetzel and Morgan. LBE has just finished renovations as an elementary school, so it was ruled out. Next to go was EE, which has a small cafeteria, limited field availability and no access to a major highway. Between WRE and MRE, WRE was eliminated because MRE has larger classrooms and is close to seven other schools that its kids could go to.

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