MCSD considers new grade alignment at two of its elementary schools

Update, Feb. 7: with the Feb. 6 Board of Education meeting cancelled due to inclement weather, the Board is now expected to make a decision concerning this matter at its March 5 meeting. Community members with questions or concerns are encouraged to attend the Board meeting on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the George L. Cooke Elementary School, or to reach out to the Office of the Superintendent. 

Original article: 

The Monticello Central School District Board of Education is considering returning to a K-2/3-5 alignment at its two village elementary schools –the George L. Cooke and Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary Schools. Currently, both schools serve students in grades K-5, but under the proposed reconfiguration, the Cooke school will serve students in grades K-2 and the Rutherford school will serve grades 3-5. The district has one other elementary school, the Emma C. Chase Elementary School, in Wurtsboro, which would not be impacted by such a reconfiguration.

District administrators believe that such a reconfiguration could alleviate current challenges with class sizes, special education services and physical space constraints, while introducing new improvements such as creating enrichment opportunities like accelerated class opportunities, improved intervention/guidance services and a middle school transition program. The reconfiguration will also consolidate bus routes and prevent the disruption that occurs when a student’s family moves locally and the student must then change schools.

While there will be some initial contractual costs associated with the move, the district expects the reconfiguration to yield savings through the consolidation of staff and bus routes. The district does not expect the configuration to have any impact on existing staff at either building.

“Although the realignment has challenges, including moving materials and furniture and disruption of staff who will need to change buildings, we believe the potential benefits to our students outweigh the inconveniences,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Silver said. “Our goal is to create a world-class primary school boosting literacy learning so that all kids are reading on grade level by the end of second grade and reducing the need for remedial services in the upper elementary grades and beyond. This reconfiguration solves on-going space issues at these schools, while improving the quality of the services we’re able to provide and consolidating transportation. We believe this change is in the best interest of both our students and taxpayers.”

The Board is expected to make a decision concerning the proposed reconfiguration at its Feb. 20 meeting. The next meeting is on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School Library. The district encourages any residents or staff who have questions or concerns to reach out to the Office of the Superintendent, or to attend one of the upcoming Board meetings.