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Email on grade shifting in Skaneateles schools sparks public opposition

UPDATE: 10/25 2 p.m., comments from Jessica Millman added.

UPDATE 2: 10/27 5:45 p.m., an update on this story can be found here

An email sent to Skaneateles community members by Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel on Wednesday sparked public opposition in the form of an online petition.

Pastel’s email, sent out via the school district’s School News Notifier system on Oct. 23, states that the board of education will discuss its intention to study potential grade level shifts at its upcoming Nov. 5 meeting.

In the email Pastel writes: “Those shifts would involve grade two being housed at State Street while grade five would be housed at the middle school. The study and ensuing conversations are important in light of our determination to maintain and in some cases expand our excellent educational programs despite declining enrollment and financial stresses.”

The email also states that a study will be done on the subject in the next three months that will include parent and teacher study groups.

Her full message is also available on the district's website.

On Oct. 24, Skaneateles resident Jessica Millman published a petition on gopetition.com that calls for the district to develop a more detailed plan for its future and get input from the entire community

It reads: “We, the undersigned, are kindly asking the administration and the board of education to engage the entire community (all the stakeholders from students, to teachers, to parents, to residents) in drafting a long-term plan that explores multiple options to address declining enrollment and required Common Core Learning Standards.”

As of Friday afternoon, the petition had more than 100 signatures, most of which included names.

Millman said that the petition was not meant to be adversarial, but to express to the board and administration that the community wants to explore a variety of paths in planning for its future.

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