Thursday, January 24, 2008

Update on school closures

There will be a special board session next Wednesday (January 30th, 7pm at Maple Point Board Room) where we will review further the various facilities options as presented earlier this week by McKissick Associates. Our goal for this meeting, which is open to the public, is to skinny down the current list of six options to a shorter list of likely scenarios. A brief summary of the plans:

Option 2: Close 1 elementary school, close 1 middle school
Option 4: Close 2 elementary schools, build 1 new elementary school, close 1 middle school
Option 9: Close 3 elementary schools, realign middle schools to grades 5-8, close 1 middle school
Option 10: Close 3 elementary schools, realign middle schools to grades 3-8, close 1 middle school
Option 10c: Close 3 elementary schools, realign middle schools to grades 2-8, close 1 middle school
Option 11: Close 5 elementary schools, realign middle schools to grades K-8

The good news with all these options is that every school in Neshaminy that needs maintenance will get it AND there will be a net decrease in property taxes.

There is so much more to these plans than I can put down in writing, so I strongly suggest you watch the cable TV rebroadcast of the January 22nd school board meeting during which the McKissick report was presented, and you should attend all school board meetings in person starting next Wednesday and until the board has reached some sort of consensus.

In the meantime, please feel free to post any thoughts or information which might help us make the best decision for all of Neshaminy.


pianomom said...

Closing schools may be the right thing to do but I'm concerned that the board is in such a rush that they may not make the right decisions. I feel better that you're on the school board because I know you'll make a decision based on facts, and you won't let anyone else decide based on campaign promises or wanting to save a few bucks no matter who it hurts.

SK said...

I've heard for years that closing Neshaminy Middle was a done deal once the high school was fixed. Is that true?

It wouldn't be the first time said...

I'll do you one better. I've been told that the schools have already been chosen but they're not telling us yet. These presentations and meetings are just a dog and pony show. Why else would some of the board members make a campaign promise to keep a building open when they only are two votes UNLESS they already knew what the answer was going to be. Most of our elementary schools are in Levittown but I'll bet none of them will be closed. As the French say, this is fait accompli.

pianomom said...

Dear First Time: I understand your skepticism because of the way some people on our board act, but I know several of the board members and they would never allow such scam. Even if a couple board members try to keep a school open for political reasons, it doesn't mean that the others will do the same. All the board members may agree on which buildings to close, and you know that at least several of them will make that choice for the right reasons.

Everything's Sunny in Levittown said...

You forgot the 7th option proposed by Kozol: close 3 elementary schools, close 2 middles schools, bomb Tawanka, annex Bristol, cut lead teachers, eliminate agenda books, put a halt to overnight trips, revert back to a time when a quarter was called two bits, increase class size to 600 and student/teacher ratio to 2,400:1, stop the internet, and give our superintendent a wedgie.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think he would give the super a wedgie?

Anonymous said...

It takes real fortitude to close any school, and with the notice and hearing requirements as such, the NSB would need to move on this right away to have something in effect for September - if that is ven still possible.

With the extent of the options that are outlined, we have been terribly inefficient in running our schools. This has been a high cost to both the taxpayer and our children.

The current NSB president had opposed closing any school in 2001, and the Levittown board members would not agree to close one of "their" schools. Watch for those who will suggest that we shouldn't rush things.

Anonymous said...

Heard today my daughter's elementary school may be on the chopping block. Please understand that these children have created bonds with friends, love their teachers and have school pride. The classmates will be split up and placed in different elementary schools...having to create new bonds with children who already have friends from schools they have been going to for years. This will throw the displaced young children into an atmosphere that they are unfamiliar with and what will that do for their learning path when they have to worry about the social aspect of a new school? Please consider other alternatives instead of penalizing the youth for adult mistakes. Thank you.

William O'Connor said...

Obviously this is a controversial topic, but all of us on the board have an educational and fiscal responsibility to ensure that our district facilities are utilized properly. If we have an opportunity to reduce facilities without impacting the quality of education, then it is something we are compelled to consider.
I promise you that if any of our board members fight to save a school for political reasons, I will scream to the high heavens so the public will know. Having said that, I also want you to keep in mind that an important consideration in closing a building is its ability to be used as a revenue source as rental property. Even though a building may be in poor physical condition, its location smack dab in the middle of a residential area may render it virtually worthless from a commercial standpoint.
The most important thing the parents can do is to reassure their children that going to a different school isn't a bad thing. They should look at it as an opportunity for a new experience, and making new friends. Even if you're unhappy with a building closure, do not pass that anxiety onto your children. They'll be as resilient and eager as you encourage them to be.
One last note to Sunny in Levittown . . . No, I don't think Mr. Koziol really wants to give Mr. Kadri a wedgie :-)

everything's sunny in Levittown said...

Ok Mr. O'Connor, but it sure would have made the board meetings more interesting if he did.
Despite my earlier attempts at humor, I agree with what pianomom said about the board rushing to make a decision. I don't want my kids school to get shut down but I will accept the decision as long as I know it was done with the best interests of the kids at heart. We're trusting that you and the other board members will keep the politics out it.

shamrocks said...

While closing schools is the right thing, I honestly don't think that there should be young children in a middle school. Grades 3-8 in a middle school? It is difficult enough for the 6th graders to adjust.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask this? Since when does the decision of closing a school become centered around calling a certain school board members "bluff" on his PROMISE never to close a school in his region?
Are you kidding me?
If and when the decision is made to close an elementary school you can be that the entire eye of the community will be on that board members action.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea.
Close Tawanka...send those children to Everitt which becomes the new alternative school.

Schweitzer is LOW LOW LOW in numbers....half of Everitt's population could still be considered "walkers" in order to attend Schweitzer.

Send the rest to either Hoover or what is left over to Miller.

What about the huge development going up on Durham Rd? Where will they go?

There is an easy solution to this problem Stop creating a smoke screen and do what's right...

shamrocks said...

I notice that one of the options suggests building a new elementary school. I also looked at the info on the District Website. They call it a "Central Elementary" If there are currently elementary schools that are underutilized why do we need a new school?

got the blues said...

Suggestion - build on Tawanka - move those students to the Facilities building - close Lower Southampton and sell it to the township for their rec center. I can't see 1,000 students at Poquessing. We have students in closets for classrooms. Yes we do -we'd be more than happy to show you. You could only fit those extra students in and keep with the teacher contract that limits # of students in a classroom by doing away with the fine arts and tech programs. I'd also like to know since they are removing the modulars at Ferderbar, where is the piano going to be stored? I would hope somewhere secure. Can't see the music teacher pushing that around with her cart. People are living in a box...Mr. O'Connor please encourage the board to stop the train derailment and give serious thought at impact because the staff is doing what they are told not what's right. They've been told not to rock the boat and become puppets. In any business you review, discuss and make informed decisions. In this district the staff below middle management do as they are told so they don't have to deal with any backlash. It's a mess. Again, the board members need to get into their schools and talk to the PTOs (ie parents). We're still waiting to see ours this year. Sad very sad.

Anonymous said...

Neshaminy Middle is a wonderful school. Although I am slated to have my second child attend in September it is simply fiscally irresponsible to keep a school that is ½ full open an additional year. Why? Just for the sake of easing everyone out?

The staff at NMS has been prepared by HR. With the amount of retirements throughout the district no one at NMS will loose their jobs.

There is absolutely no benefit to keeping it open one more year. The school board needs to do what’s fiscally responsible for the district…not what makes the small community of Neshaminy Middle happy.

Anonymous said...

im an eighth grader at neshaminy middle and i think its not fair neshaminy middle should not close let the eigth graders now have a say............we also just got new laptops and now were getting a salad bar why waste all of that money getting one then ruining it?