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Parent Group Requests More Information Regarding Possible School Closure

Over thirty Ridgefield parents signed a request set forth to the Board of Education last week for more information regarding the decision process.

For years now, the Ridgefield Public School administration and the Board of Education have weighed the costs and benefits of possibly closing an elementary school due to declining enrollment, much to some parents' chagrin.

At last week's school board meeting, Sharon D'Orso, a parent in Ridgefield, stood up to represent fellow parents in the system in requesting more information from the administration and board regarding the possible closure.

In the past few months, the Board of Education has said that an enrollment of 2,000 would allow the schools to close one of the six elementary schools in town, a number the district could reach as soon as 2014, according to a study by the board's consultant.

D'Orso and 32 other community members signed the document sent to the Board of Education -- the questions therein surround issues of specific improvements, effects, timelines and future of the decision to close a school.

The document cited several of the reports the board had put forth in the past, including a demographic report of a rising number of child bearing women in the future, as well as a swath of new housing units approved in town, both of which would potentially increase enrollment.

Much of the parents' concerns in the past have surrounded the effect of transferring schools, as well as a possible redistricting despite a future need to re-open the school.

The problem, according to the group, is that not enough of the information is understood.

School officials and the Board of Education will hold more public sessions (as well as answer the specific questions in the parents') document before a June 1 vote on whether to close a school in 2014-15 when K-5 reaches 2,000, or vote on an alternative model.

Another possibility is to pair K-2 and 3-5, but this would also involve substantial redistricting.

If the decision is made to close the school, it could take until the end of the year to decide which one it would be -- Branchville, Farmingville, Scotland and Veterans Park have been identified as possibilities due to their size.

Watching April 16, 2012 at 02:11 PM
"to close a school in 2014-15 when K-5 reaches 2,000" Should the above quote read "...IF... k-5 reaches 2,000: I'm not sure I understand the logistics. I round the numbers, but the projected population in 2012 will be 2,200. The population in 2013 will be 2,100. And the population in 2014 will be 2,000. So what happens in August of 2014? We won't yet know if we reached the 2,000 level. So what do we do, fire the teachers anyway assuming we will reach 2,000? What happens if the students show up in class at the 5 remaining schools on Sept 1 and the we didn't reach 2,000? Point being, shouldn't the school closing happen in 2015, a year after we have proven the population is at 2,000? I don't think the BOE should vote now to close a school in 2014. They should vote now to say that if the population reaches 2,000, we will consider closing a school in the FOLLOWING year.
sebastian dangerfield April 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I think the question is, if the population reaches 2100, is the infrastucture with 2100 still adequate? My guess is the answer is defintely "yes." When I read that the 'concerns' from parents is "changing schools"---I have to laugh. Do these parents not know that their kids will eventually change schools? A child goes from elementary school (where they change classrooms ) to middle School to High school. If they are truly concerned about changing physical structures, and the idea that many of their friends will also change structures, then I think we need to simply dismiss those parents' opinions. Sorry--but the reason we continue to get into so many fiscal crises in this country/state/town, is that we cowtow to every manufactured 'concern.' I can only HOPE that the same people who were heavily advocating for buying schlumberger --with the concept that bearing the cost of school children, associated with a mythical condo association being built, would be costly--- will fervently look to close the school--with the same eye to reducing costs of educating the children.

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