Lewisboro Elementary School Closure Vote Is Thursday

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The fate of Lewisboro Elementary School will be decided Thursday night when the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board votes on potential closing it. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The Katonah-Lewisboro school board will vote Thursday night at John Jay High School on whether or not to close Lewisboro Elementary School for the fall 2014.

A parent-led petition opposing the closure has hit 1,059 signatures. There have been five public hearings held since September, many drawing crowds of more than 100 parents concerned about how closing Lewisboro Elementary would impact their child.

If the school board votes to close the school Thursday, 214 Lewisboro Elementary students would be moved to Increase Miller Elementary, and the remaining 136 would be moved to Meadow Pond, under a tentative redistricting scenario that may still be tweaked. In order to even out class sections under this scenario, 94 Increase Miller Elementary students would be moved to Katonah.

The school board had discussed another redistricting option that would have moved 67 Lewisboro Elementary kids and 46 Increase Miller kids to Katonah. The board decided at its Jan. 9 meeting that moving kids in larger groups would enable them to better transition with more familiar faces in a new school.

School board members Marjorie Schiff and Jake Holbrook have said they will vote against closing Lewisboro Elementary.

The Lewisboro Town Board wrote a letter asking the school board to postpone closing the school, which Town Supervisor Peter Parson read at the fifth and final public hearing Jan. 16.

“It is quite clear that the closing will have some ripple effect throughout the entire district,” he said.

Parsons called Lewisboro Elementary the cornerstone and anchor of the South Salem hamlet, and that closing it would “end the coherence of South Salem as a community.”  

The school district has lost about 600 students in the last six years, causing it to run well below capacity. Closing Lewisboro Elementary would save the district about $1.7 million annually, which Board President Charles Day said would go toward funding programs and staff.

Many residents have called the savings a “rounding error” in a budget of about $120 million. Kreutzer said the district’s expenses outpace its revenues every year, which has led to the loss of 140 full-time employees in six years.

The school board meeting Thursday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at John Jay High School, on 60 North Salem Road, Cross River. 

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Arizona:

Lewisboro is sort of like Mayberry. Sad but true.

ShariRossi:

My last effort to BoE tonight in a letter I sent to Governance_team@klschools.org, ACronin@klsd.lhric.org and PKreutzer@klsd.lhric.org as a parent at Meadow Pond Elementary School.

In marking up the following document regarding the budget (not included here but sent to BOE), it becomes clear we have bigger problems mandated by the State. The fact is, it's heartbreaking to tear and rip apart this small loving community in the throes of harsh times and unexpected changes, this seems heartless and imprudent. Yet, a Phoenix always rises from the ashes and this Community sees their Awakening. We have never had this type of opportunity to band together, but you have delivered it to us. We have to thank you for helping us to find each other.

As a result, the biggest and only question in light of the mountains of heartfelt effort and sense of Community driving the opposition of the facts as stated and the conclusions you have drawn here-to-fore beg this one question:

WHY DON'T YOU CARE AT ALL ABOUT THE OVER 1,000 PEOPLE REPRESENTED BY YOU?

This is the most perplexing notion personally. How do you stop caring and turn a blind eye to well-spoken, passionate, diverse neighbors and their families who you are supposed to represent as our fiduciary? It's wildly authoritarian to not give ALL THESE impassioned residents their due and let time play it's hand and not stop a resurgence of energy in its tracks. You are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will wish you could have turned time back on when you want to sell YOUR house. Why would you ignore us ALL? We're not just a rag tag army, but I dare you to remember their effectiveness on making their cause a success. Do you look at us all in the face next year and say "Good Morning?" Will you look in the mirror knowing you turned your backs on so many people you shop with, drive with, see at the field or at drop off or other venues around town and activities? WHY would you so blatantly discount your Neighbors?

Your jobs are tough. No doubt about it but I have to say, you presented your cases poorly. We presented our evidence well. Now it's your ego versus your honor in this battle of good and evil (I wish I had written in this battle of transparency and opaque disregard for the voices of the parents) [added here for inclusion in this piece and wish it had been written this way in my letter].

Please give us a year to sort this out. You may be right, but you haven't convinced us. The better option of valor is to be just and empathetic to the notion that we fear you will irreversibly destroy the Town we love for no "great" reason. Please err on the side of caution and don't convict an entire town to your whim just because you can. Err with the people you represent. Question your motivations and believe that this Town is filled with brilliance or you are not telling us your whole story. Please stand FOR us tomorrow and give us time to vet this properly.

Very truly,

Shari Goodstein Rossi

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