CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – If Lewisboro Elementary is closed, students will be redistricted in larger groups to prevent them from moving to a new school without anyone from their grade.
The Katonah-Lewisboro school board voted Thursday night to move forward with a redistricting scenario – referred to as scenario two - that splits the entire Lewisboro Elementary population between Increase Miller and Meadow Pond elementary, and moves 94 Increase Miller students to Katonah Elementary to balance student populations.
The vote is not binding, but gives the administration the go ahead to move forward with the redistricting plan.
Board member Stephanie Tobin didn’t vote after all other six members voted for scenario two. After a long pause, Board President Charles Day said it didn’t matter.
The board chose this option in favor of the first scenario, in which Lewisboro students would be split among the three remaining schools and 46 Increase Miller students would be moved to Katonah Elementary. The second scenario, which the board said can still be tweaked, splits Lewisboro students between Increase Miller and Meadow Pond and moves 94 Increase Miller students to Katonah Elementary.
A third scenario was put on the table by board members Tobin and Peter Treyz, who attended a forum organized by Increase Miller parents Wednesday. Many asked to keep their kids where they are in either scenario and phase out new and incoming students to Katonah Elementary. They argued that the school is well below capacity and could fit the incoming Lewisboro kids.
“I think you have to look at this long term, try to balance these buildings so that they will sustain our student populations for as many years as possible,” said Michael Jumper, assistant superintendent for business.
While Tobin and Treyz supported looking into that possibility, no other board member, or School Superintendent Paul Kreutzer, supported it. Working with scenario two, that option would have put 487 students at Increase Miller and 387 at Katonah Elementary.
“I don't think that's the right idea for the district,” Board Member Janet Harckham said. “I don't think redistricting is comfortable for anyone.”
Lewisboro parent Larry Martin’s three kids would be moved to Meadow Pond if the school board votes Jan. 23 to close their school. He lives in Michelle Estates, a neighborhood that would have been cut in half under scenario one, similarly to the Truesdale Lake neighborhood. Both will be kept whole under scenario two.
However, Martin said he still wants the board to wait a year, saying at the tail end of Thursday’s meeting that the decision to close still feels rushed.
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