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Decisions made following district building study

March 18, 2014
No school buildings to close, UPK program to move to Moreau Elementary School

All schools in the South Glens Falls Central School District will remain open for the foreseeable future, the board of education decided unanimously at its Monday, March 17 meeting.

The Board of Education used feedback it had received from the 36-member community focus group which met on Saturday, Feb. 8 as well as additional input from stakeholders at the Feb. 26 Community Budget Forum. The Board also considered 10-year student enrollment projections which predict steady growth over the next several years.

Instead of closing a building, the board of education decided to make use of available classroom space at Moreau Elementary School by relocating the district’s Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) program from the South Glens Falls United Methodist Church back to the building. The UPK program started in the school district in 2007 and was originally housed at Moreau, but space was limited.

Additional instructional space at Moreau Elementary School will be used to create two new 6-1-1 special education classrooms for students who currently attend BOCES-supported programs outside the district. Current staff will be reallocated to teach these classes.

The changes come following a comprehensive review of the district’s programming as part of a building study conducted by an independent consultant, Dr. Paul Seversky. A pupil capacity analysis of each school building was created to identify operating capacity using local class size goals.

“The building study has been a valuable process for our district to go through,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton. “At a time when schools are being pushed to examine all efficiencies, we believe we have a responsibility to examine all methods for delivering our program. “These initial changes will result in savings for our district, and allow us to provide better educational experiences for our students,” Patton said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Potential for even greater efficiencies

In addition to relocating the district’s UPK programming to Moreau and returning some special education students to the district, the board has approved a review of the district’s elementary attendance zones, and school start/end times to improve overall transportation efficiency. District officials will be working with architects to identify possible locations within existing school buildings for future plans to relocate the administrative center. Both the building study and community feedback identified these areas as opportunities for improved efficiency.

The current elementary attendance zones include “buffer areas” that may serve two or more elementary buildings for enrollment purposes. These areas allow for flexibility with student placement to balance class size across grade levels and help maintain a reasonable transportation pattern.

The district will review these areas to see whether adjustments in the boundaries can help establish more equitable class sizes across the district’s four elementary schools. The district is currently registering the incoming kindergarten class and will monitor the assignment of new students into the district.

UPK program to be relocated to school building

Relocating our UPK program back to Moreau will be positive for our students and staff, said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and & Instruction Kristine Orr. The district expects to renew its contract with Day Nursery School to provide UPK services through an annual grant it receives from NYS. Transportation for UPK programs will continue to be provided by the district.

“UPK students will benefit from the experience of going to school in an elementary building and will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of school activities, and more importantly, the Day Nursery School staff will be able to work more collaboratively with our kindergarten teachers,” Orr said.

“I’d like to thank all the individuals who participated in the building study process,” said Board of Education President Bill Elder. “Those who attended meetings, asked questions and shared their thoughts have all helped guide the board to this decision. We believe it is a positive step forward for our district and we look forward to continued progress and greater efficiency.”

 

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