Should We Lose Our School to Save Only 1%?

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Guest post by Leah Enfield.

Residents beware! Changes proposed by the Long Beach Board of Education are short sighted and harmful for students and the community alike. Five potential plans are claimed to save between $600,000 and 1.6 million dollars of the school’s $123.8 million budget. This works out to save approximately 1% of the entire budget.

A budget shortfall and declining enrollment has prompted the administration to consider reconfiguring the four elementary schools in Long Beach. Option A or “Status Quo” would leave the current school buildings in tact. Two options include closing East School; Option B would relocate 360 students and place them in the remaining 3 elementary schools. While option E would place all Pre K-2nd graders in Lido or West School while all 3rd-5th graders would be housed in Lindell School. East School would be repurposed as an administration building at a cost of more than $2 million dollars.

As a concerned citizen, I am forced to ask the administration whether they have done their due diligence in researching all of the options and their ramifications?

Is a 1% savings worth…
• Potential depreciation of the East End Long Beach neighborhood?
• Compromising neighborhood safety when a school no longer houses students?
• Increasing class size, a byproduct of combining schools, while teachers and students are grappling with the more rigorous core curriculum standards?
• Less support staff for all elementary students? (School nurse, Social worker, etc.)
• Potential traffic disruption and increased costs due to the community school model being destroyed?
• Increased transitions of students between their Pre-K through 5th grade years.
• Complicating the logistics of having siblings at separate schools?
• Firing less senior staff and teachers across the district?
• Risking children’s social and emotional well being after being displaced by Superstorm Sandy?
• Investing over $2 million dollars to repurpose offices for approximately 30 administrators at a cost of nearly $70,000 per administrator?

If planning for future generations of Long Beach students and sustainability is a priority, as Superintendent Weiss has stated, he and the school board must consider two recent developments.
Governor Cuomo has proposed a 4% increase in school aid. Shouldn’t the board wait to see how this money will affect their budget before voting to repurpose the schools?

Also, the Long Beach Superblock site will be developed. Currently, a prominent developer is planning a 450 unit apartment building plus hotel. If each apartment averages only 1 child this would more than exceed the student population at East School. If developers believe in the city of Long Beach, shouldn’t the school board?

I urge the Long Beach Board of Education to Vote for Option A, Status Quo. A vote to change school structure at this time fulfills the notion that Long Beach is a city in decline. It is a vote against the city of Long Beach.

The Long Beach BOE is scheduled to vote in early February for one of the five plans. There are too few opportunities for residents to be heard, ask questions or attend meetings before the vote.

I ask all residents to be present on Tuesday, January 21st at 7pm at the Long Beach Middle School. No matter what side of the issue you are on it is imperative to attend and ask the important questions.

Additional information.

http://saveeastschool.com

http://www.lbeach.org/Assets/District_Document/011614_Working_options_as_of_1-14-14.pdf?t=635254680038270000

Important Emails:

Superintendent,
Dweiss@lbeach.org

Board Members,
Dryan@lbeach.org
Dtangney@lbeach.org
Smininsky@lbeach.org
Rlester@lbeach.org
Pegallagher@lbeach.org

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4 thoughts on “Should We Lose Our School to Save Only 1%?

  1. In light of the approaching snowstorm coinciding with tonight’s final meeting, If the meeting is postponed, please let us know.

    This totally does not seem worth it to me. The $2 million to repurpose will take 2 – 5 years to recoup before we start seeing a savings? how much to turn it back into a school if needed? i would expect MUCH more, so we may not have an actual savings unless this timeframe is 3-10 years..

    This requires every elementary student to change schools multiple times before middle school?

    A logistical nightmare :
    send EVERY student across town from school “A” to school “B” and from that school back to the other school and the youngest from all will co-mingle with the middle school?
    That won’t increase long term transportation costs?

    I had seen somewhere that “Long Beach public schools like to present these plans that just upset everybody every few years and then eventually vote not to do anything” and I truly hope that that’s what this is all about.

  2. Families are having less kids…school districts all over Long Island are consolidating facilities due to falling enrollment. Doesn’t make much sense to maintain all of these schools when enrollment is way down…even before the hurricane….considering they were built during the baby boom. How many young families does anyone know with 4, or 5 kids these days. Average family only has 2 kids now and we aren’t adding any land for more homes on long beach island….so do the math…less enrollment. Throw in increasing taxes and home values….won’t be long before young families are getting out and taking their kids with them. Pay for a school system that is only as big as it needs to be…no reason to keep a building open just because it has always been. If u wouldn’t build it today….close it.

    • I hate taxes like the next, so the bottom line is none of these plans is so great. It’s a question of “what are we getting for our money?”
      So the question still stands.

      In order to respond to a 12% decline in enrollment from its HISTORIC HIGH EVER, should we take away 25% of our public elementary school resources, which were in place 20+ years before that high enrollment, so we can all save 1%, which will take several years to see due to the consolidation costs involved?
      I’d like to point out you’re saying “protect young families by taking away the very resources they use and need most because it will save them $20-30 a year(1%)?”

      Not a good value for the money.

      • Long Beach school system….like most on Long Island…have years of decreasing enrollment ahead of them…they are trying to pour what resources that have into the facilities they need…instead of stretching them thin across unneeded buildings…I think that’s better for the kids. Now I know in a perfect world for some parents the school system would just find the money to keep all buildings going as is until the enrollment gets rediculous…ive never heard parents say any class size wasn’t too big…but in these days of increasing labor/pension costs and not much room to raise property taxes anymore, I think a realistic solution is more likely. Get ahead of the curve…pour the recources into the classrooms you need…not the half empty classrooms u don’t.

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