The public responds

Martin also called the decision fiscally responsible. It was cheaper than going to a K-4/5-8 configuration, and their recommendation on how to accomplish the move -- to close Liverpool Elementary and turn it into a middle school annex to accommodate more middle schoolers at Liverpool Middle -- would be cheaper than building an addition onto LMS. This option would also keep the existing boundaries determining where the district's children will attend middle school the same.

Under the recommendation, sixth graders would attend Liverpool Elementary, which would by then be a middle school annex to LMS. Seventh and eighth graders would remain at LMS. Meanwhile, Soule Road and Chestnut Hill middle schools can already accommodate sixth graders, so they would welcome them as well as seventh and eighth graders.

Martin presented suggestions for the use of the remaining space at LE: it could become a district-wide science or art center, or it could house the LEEP (Liverpool Early Education Program, a pre-K program for district residents) program. It could also be used for community events in the village.

The rebuttal

When the time came for public comment, no one stood up to support the recommendation.

The charge was lead by former board member Terri Cook, who sent two children through LE. She presented numerous reasons why the district should keep LE open, including the large population of walkers, the high poverty rate and the low teacher-to-student ratio. She promised to submit all data she had collected to the board.

Cook also pointed out that no one wanted to see any schools close. "We don't want you to take LE off the table and replace it with another school," she said. "We don't think any elementary school should be closed."

She also read aloud the district's mission statement: "The Liverpool Central School District will be a leader in public education by providing the best opportunities for students to achieve academic and personal excellence." She noted that closing LE would be a direct violation of that mission.

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