Moms propose alternative plan for Chestnut Hill schools

The Liverpool Board of Education was captivated by a group of community members Monday night as they presented the board with an alternative plan concerning the proposed closure of the Chestnut Hill schools.

Maryanne Nash, Tracy Fasen, Brenda Pendergast and Karen Colella, all alumni of Chestnut Hill Elementary, Chestnut Hill Middle School and Liverpool High School, prepared a nearly hour-long PowerPoint presentation on the concept of creating K-8 campuses instead of closing the two schools.

While Colella was unable to attend due to family illness, Nash, Fasen and Pendergast walked the audience through their sister school concept, in which K-8 campuses would be created from the existing elementary and middle schools. Examples of these campuses include the pre-existing Liverpool Elementary- Liverpool Middle School, Chestnut Hill Elementary- Chestnut Hill Middle School, and Soule Road Elementary- Soule Road Middle School complexes, along with Nate Perry Elementary- Donlin Drive Elementary, Long Branch Elementary- Elmcrest Elementary and Morgan Road Elementary- Willow Field Elementary. One school in each of the latter pairs would be converted into a middle school.

More than a hundred supporters attended the meeting to view the presentation that was held in the auditorium of Liverpool High School on Jan. 10. After the women's presentation, a standing ovation was given by the audience.

The board praised the group for their thorough research and professional presentation, and joked that their concept will make the decision on whether or not to close the Chestnut Hill schools in 2013 even harder.

Board of Education President Don Cook scheduled a board work session for 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at the district office on Blackberry Road to further discuss the Chestnut Hill dilemma.

The presentation was in response to the Long Range Facilities Plan, in which the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee presented the board of education with a proposed plan to close the two schools in August.

The next board of education meeting is at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Wetzel Road Complex.

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