Liverpool BOE: District planning committee suggests shutdown of Chestnut Hill schools

Members of the Liverpool Central School District's long-range facility planning committee presented the Board of Education with a detailed report focusing on grade configurations and building closures during the August 3 meeting at the District Office, 195 Blackberry Road.

During the presentation, the committee proposed the closure of Chestnut Hill Elementary and Middle schools on Saslon Park Drive in 2013.

This proposal came after months of research and discussion by the committee, which looked at community and district population changes over time. The committee explained that the closure was decided after a three to two majority vote within the committee of approximately 36 members. The Chestnut Hill schools were chosen because of low building capacities and the $10-20 million in renovations that the schools would need over the next five to seven years.

With these closures would come redistricting of the entire Liverpool Central School District. Board members were concerned with the redistricting because of the recent closure of Wetzel Road, which will already cause students to change schools.

The closing of the two schools is just a recommendation by the planning committee at this time, and must first be discussed by the Board of Education before any plans are made definite.

Also during the board meeting, the Liverpool Elementary and Middle School Soil Contamination Project was declared an emergency by Superintendent Richard Johns. The contaminated soils were discovered during the removal of underground storage tanks containing unleaded fuel during the renovation process at the schools. So far, 21,000 tons of soil have been removed and treated, but contaminated soils are still being found as close as 14 feet from the middle school. The board issued the spending of up to $800,000 to pay for the emergency removal and treatment.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for August 24 at the District Office.

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