Parents invited to grade reconfiguration meeting

Parents are invited to share their feedback about the possibility of moving Herkimer Central School District sixth-graders to the junior high at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

A meeting to discuss the proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in the Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School Library Media Center. Feedback is also being sought through an anonymous, voluntary online survey. Both are open to the general public.

The proposal is expected to come to a vote before the Board of Education later this year, and input from parents, students and others is being sought before the board considers the proposal.

This change is being considered because the district faces a space imbalance: a full elementary school, and a junior-senior high school with room to spare.

At Herkimer Elementary, rooms such as the cafeteria, and a conference room, are being used for instruction. In addition, classrooms that had been rented out to BOCES for special education have now been taken up by Herkimer Elementary students, leading to a loss of rental income and the additional cost of transporting students to the program’s new location in Richfield Springs.

Meanwhile, the Jr./Sr. High School, which was constructed to accommodate as many as 700 students, today holds fewer than 500.

The district does not anticipate that enrollments will shift to the point that space would open up in the elementary building. And bringing more balance to the two school buildings could open up additional opportunities for students.

Starting the transition to junior high during the sixth-grade year can help students focus more closely on academic success in seventh and eighth grades. Sixth-graders would also have the opportunity to start music, art and foreign language coursework at the junior-high level.

It is anticipated that some elementary staff will have the opportunity to “move up” to the junior-senior high school, and that there will be no job loss as a result of the transition. Any change in staffing levels resulting from the transition is expected to come from attrition over the next two to four years.

The public is invited to hear more about the proposal, ask questions and provide feedback at the Nov. 1 meeting and via the online poll. Feedback from both the poll and the meeting will be shared with the board before any action is taken.

For more information about the grade reconfiguration survey, contact Assistant Principal Zachary Abbe at (315) 866-2230 or zabbe@herkimercsd.org

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