Morgan Road, however, has the largest number of elementary school students in the district, while LE has the smallest. Morgan is also much farther from LMS, making for significant travel time for shared staff. At LE, if a connective corridor was constructed between LE and LMS, travel time would be cut, the least construction would be necessary and it would dovetail with the district architect's five-year renovation plan for the district (LE and LMS are scheduled to go to referendum for renovations next year). Thus, it was determined that Liverpool Elementary should be the school to close.
The consultants then outlined the plan to move current LE students to their new schools (they will be divided between Elmcrest and Long Branch). Next year, all students but kindergarteners would return to LE. Kindergarteners will start at their new school. The following year, only second through sixth grade would attend LE. The process would continue until 2010, when only fourth, fifth and sixth graders would be at LE and the school would be considered a middle school. After that, sixth graders would remain in the new LMS annex and all other elementary students would attend other schools.
"If this is approved, this year's kindergarten class would be the last class to go all the way through the school," Cook said. "There would be no more new kids after this year."
School board meeting place changed
The school board still has to vote on the recommendation, but not until after it hears from the public. A special meeting of the board will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 5. Due to the expected turnout for the meeting, Superintendent Jan Matousek has moved it from the district offices at Craven Crawford to the auditorium at Chestnut Hill Middle School.
"The board as a whole is trying to remain open to all possibilities," said board President Mark Lawson. "There is a feeling that we need a reconfiguration. We will likely accept the recommendation that we go to a 6 to 8 model for the middle schools."