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LCSD holds public hearing on grade reconfiguration proposal

Liverpool Central School District Board of Education President Don Cook speaks before a public hearing on a proposed grade reconfiguration in the district on Tuesday Aug. 23.

Liverpool Central School District Board of Education President Don Cook speaks before a public hearing on a proposed grade reconfiguration in the district on Tuesday Aug. 23. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— Sharon Yager expressed concerns about moving the students from the annex to the main building, particularly in terms of lab space, increasing class sizes and lunchroom space.

“How will we be able to fit those students into the main building?” she asked. “How will 500 other students affect our lunchrooms?”

Jeff Crook recalled serving on the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee and examining the reconfiguration issue in the past. He said he’d seen no proof that the grade shift would serve students at that time.

“There’s no empirical evidence that moving the sixth grades to the middle school benefits them,” Crook said. “I think it was a 27 to 6 or a 26 to 7 vote that we recommended not to move the sixth grade up to the middle school, so I want to know where that comes into play, and I think this [report] needs to be revisited in detail.”

Renee Curkendall was surprised that reconfiguration was even being discussed at all.

“I feel like just a few years ago, we went through this entire process with an outside committee and paid thousands of dollars to do this, and it came down to the fact that it was working beautifully,” Curkendall said. “It was decided that it was not appropriate to change it.”

Curkendall has six children, all but one of whom has special needs. Five are still in school in the district.

“I can’t imagine my sixth grade special needs student entering middle school,” she said. “Middle school is such a trying time as parents working with middle schools with kids with special needs. Special ed is a transition nonstop. And the teachers are only certified special ed K through 6 and 7 through 12, so you can’t even interact with the teachers. They don’t have the right certifications. The sixth-graders will just be isolated. I don’t know how that’s going to benefit anybody.”

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