CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Transition activities are ahead of schedule for teachers and students affected by the closing of Lewisboro Elementary School, but some parents attending the Katonah-Lewisboro school board meeting Thursday night, April 10, weren’t as thrilled.
Teachers were given their tentative assignments for next year on Friday, April 11, three weeks ahead of the target date, which members of the transition committee said will help speed up the next steps. These include placing teachers in classrooms and identifying new grade level teams.
Jane Sandbank, the head of the transition committee, updated the school board and public on its progress at Thursday night's meeting.
Asked by board member Rich Stone to ensure all parents are given opportunity to be involved, Sandbank said there has been little response from parents at building visits.
“There hasn’t been that much I think because the communication is good and parents feel very validated that their children’s needs are being taken care of and that there’s so much activity that they themselves have planned working hand-in-hand with their teachers,” she said.
Clair Aldrich, a parent in the district who spoke at the meeting, said she gets the district’s email alerts about school closings and news, but hasn’t received anything about the transition committee.
Similarly, Lorraine Gallagher, of Pound Ridge, said the information presented Thursday was the first update she had received.
“One school visit? They think one school visit is going to make our kids comfortable?” she asked. “The board thinks things are better than it actually is. I think they’re living in a world of rose-colored glasses.”
The approximately 350 Lewisboro Elementary students will be split between Increase Miller and Meadow Pond elementary schools, and 94 Increase Miller students will move to Katonah Elementary School to balance student populations.
A transition activity Aldrich said she would like to see done earlier than scheduled would be determining the new bus route times for 2014-15.
“Everybody is wondering if they’re going to be the one to get stuck with the 50-minute school bus ride,” she said. “So, if there’s one thing you’re going to focus on please get the busing right, get it done soon, get it done early.”
Interim Schools Superintendent Michael Jumper said bus routing is typically done in mid-July and completed by August so it accounts for the most accurate number of kids enrolled in school.
Other parents took issue with the packaging and disposal of materials in the schools, which building staff has been doing since March. Unwanted materials will be recycled, donated or auctioned off.
Some at Lewisboro Elementary have already been disposed of in a large dumpster, which Shari Rossi worried would be a stressful sight for kids.