School board votes to reconfigure schools to 'hybrid' model
Following a public hearing Monday night, the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education voted to reconfigure the district’s elementary schools to a model that includes neighborhood schools and grade-level grouping.
The changes will be put in place for the 2017-18 school year. Administrators on Monday night expressed confidence that they will be able to have everything in place by September.
“For the past two years people have been working very hard. Initiatives toward this transition are well underway,” Board of Education President Richard Carlson said. “We are ready to move on to the next level of detail.”
Under the hybrid model, the district will create two pre-kindergarten through second grade primary schools at the current Kingsborough and Park Terrace buildings and establish a grade 3-5 intermediate school at Boulevard. The current McNab building will house early education and special education programs, and the district will seek other uses for the current Meco school.
Since 2014, the GESD Board of Education has been discussing options to address the challenges of declining enrollment, rising operational costs and unpredictable revenue. Board members also have been seeking ways to improve academic performance throughout the district.
To make its decision, the board utilized the findings of a future planning study done by an independent consultant and considered input gathered during community forums. The board also reviewed enrollment and financial savings projections.
The reconfiguration is projected to save the school district about $850,000 annually, mostly through staffing reductions. These savings will help the district mitigate future increases in expenses. It is expected that the reconfiguration would result in the reduction of at least five elementary teaching positions, but retirement and attrition could offset the need for layoffs.
As part of the transition:
● All students and teachers at Meco would move to Kingsborough.
● All McNab students would go to Boulevard.
● McNab teachers would move to Boulevard, with the exception of McNab’s second grade teachers, who would go to Kingsborough.
● Kindergarten and first-graders currently at Boulevard would go to Park Terrace.
● Shuttle buses would be available to transport elementary students to their assigned school.
Board of Education Vice President Paula Brown-Weinstock acknowledged that change is not easy, but noted that children and families are resilient. “We will do everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible,” she said.