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Mills Pond Elementary Parents Protest Possible School Closing

Citizens Advisory Committee narrows possible closings down to two schools.

While the Smithtown Central School District deliberates over school closing possibilities to save money, Mills Pond Elementary parents are lobbying to keep their school off the chopping block.

According to a Newsday report, parents of the elementary school are saying the 500 students of the school will bare the brunt of the closing, being forced into new schools.

"I cannot honestly come up with a good reason why this must be done," Noelle Ciminiello told Newsday. "The entire community is going to be collateral damage when you do this."

Newsday reported that the Citizens Advisory Committee, formed to decide if a school needs to be closed or not, narrowed down the list of schools to two – Mills Pond Elementary and Nesconset Elementary School. A recommendation by the committee should reach the Board of Education, who will have the final say in any closing, by January.

, with Nesconset Elementary, Branch Brook Elementary and Dogwood Elementary originally being reviewed by the board’s housing committee. With the creation of the Citizens Advisory Committee, , the list expanded to four schools to include Mills Pond Elementary.

Parents have stood up for their schools at past meetings, just like Mills Pond Elementary parents did at a recent board meeting, .

District officials said a closed school could save the district $500,000 a year, and enrollment is trending to decrease over the next 10 years.

Read the full Newsday report here.

Ken Heard December 17, 2011 at 05:20 PM
St James Mom, this is just another community giveback to the teachers, who just want bigger salaries and better benefits. But they do believe in give and take, You give. They take
One Opinion December 17, 2011 at 09:12 PM
As far as I know none of those details have been worked on. The commitee is only responsible for suggesting which building could be closed. Then the BOE will decide and vote on which school, if any, will be closed. Then it's up to the administration to work on the redistricting of the students. Even though we will know which school is being recommended for closing in January there will be a lot of things unknown until the end on March.
Ron December 18, 2011 at 03:44 PM
It is unconscionable that no thought, research, or study has yet gone into how closing and redistricting an elementary school will effect the middle school moving up pattern. No workable recommendation can be made without this. Doesn't the administration know that a decision cannot be made without looking at the impact on the middle schools, and ultimately the high schools? Certainly Mr. Ehmann and the BOE know that the district receives yearly enrollment projections from Western Suffolk BOCES and those have been the basis for all past decisions. Is the monumental decision of which school to close being based solely on Mr. Nolan's homegrown projections without the middle school piece being factored in or are the BOCES projections being considered? Shame on the board and the administration for trying to pull the wool over the parents eyes once again.
One Opinion December 18, 2011 at 08:22 PM
@Ron I may not have been specific in my original response. Everything you mention in your post has been reviewed at these meeting including the moving up patterns and keeping the student population balanced between both sides of town. My statement was in regards to individual neighborhoods and students. As that cannot be decided until a final decision reagrding a school is made. The CACIH has painstakingly reviewed all implications of every scenario from elementary to high school students. You should attend the next housing meeting. They are open to the public and it will help educate you to the process that has been going on for the past six months. Next meeting 1/5/12 7:00pm NYA building.
MJH December 18, 2011 at 09:14 PM
What is also unconscionable that no thought, research, or study has yet gone into how closing and redistricting an elementary school will effect our entire special education community with regard to where they will be shuffled to next, and their moving up patterns. Part of the CACIH charge is to address our special education population, which is was one of the reasons Mr. Ehmann did not close a school last year. People do not realize how many special education students we are currently servicing in this town, in addition to those we have students with 504 plans, and also students receiving speech/language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, academic intervention services, social work services, and psychological services. If we continue to bounce these children around, statistically they are not going to fare well. The sad part is our mistakes with these children will fall on the shoulders of our typically developing youth in the long term form of welfare, social security, etc. due to their inability to contribute to society in a functional manner. Unfortunately, every generation pays for the sins of the last generation...lets hope the administration does the right thing for these children.

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