Katonah-Lewisboro Moves Ahead With School Closure Transition Plan

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Michael Jumper, right, is the interim superintendent of schools.
Michael Jumper, right, is the interim superintendent of schools. Photo Credit: Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education will update the community at its meeting Thursday night on the transition process for students who will be redistricted in the fall because of the planned closure of Lewisboro Elementary School.

The school district formed a Transition Steering Committee last week to oversee three subcommittees. The committees have the responsibility of addressing student transition; assignment and reassignment of staff and preparing them for those assignments; and the logistics of closing a school.

“We do need to ramp up on this fairly quickly because of people’s concerns about transition,” School Board President Charles Day said at the last board meeting on Jan. 28.

The board voted at that meeting to move ahead with redistricting scenario 2.1. Like scenario 2, it would divide the 350 Lewisboro Elementary (LES) students between Meadow Pond (MPES) and Increase Miller (IMES) elementary schools, and move 94 IMES students to Katonah Elementary (KES).

The one difference is that scenario 2.1 keeps at IMES the 45 children along Route 22, north of Todd Road, those near the Golden’s Bridge Train station, north of Old Bedford Road, and students north of Route 138. They would have been moved to KES under scenario 2.

The administration recommended scenario 2 because moving more IMES students would ease the transition by putting more familiar faces in their new school.

Additionally, it would “load balance” the schools, which Interim Schools Superintendent Michael Jumper has said would sustain the student populations for as many years as possible.

While the administration preferred a split of 35 percent at IMES and MPES and 30 percent at KES under scenario 2, students will be split up 32, 38 and 30 percent respectively under scenario 2.1.

By leaving those 45 students at IMES, all classrooms will be in use in the fall and there is more of a chance that an additional section will be needed. However, Day said that is still unlikely. The number of new students who would require adding a section at each grade level would be: 10 in kindergarten, nine in first-grade, 14 in second-grade, eight in third-grade, 23 in fourth-grade and 25 in fifth-grade.

The school district notified parents of the redistricting scenario before talking about it with students in school.

Learn more about the committees and their roles on the school website.

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Closing Lewisboro Elementary rips the heart out of South Salem. Such a wealthy area with obscene Property Taxes and local children would now have to travel so far for grammar school? In the 1960's and 70's we "commuted" to Catholic school in Katonah from South Salem and that bus ride was over an hour to make it 12 miles home with all the stops. THIS is what is wanted for the children to go to Public School???? LES was also the place for local day camp every summer, easy to get to and from for everyone. What a tragedy the closure concept is for every single family in South Salem. Is the idea of a profitable sale price for the property from some developer just too good to pass up? Keep the school local for the local children. With gov't assistance for Kindergarten and now Nursery School - how far are you willing to inconvenience your residents and their toddlers, too? Plenty, it seems.

Watch the previous meeting, Dr. Kreitzer's last, where the options were discussed.

The original option was meant to equalize the load and minimize bus times.

Option two took into account the administratiors' concern for amending the plan to minimize the impact on academics.

Plan 2.1 is pure politics. A last-minute attempt to put lipstick on what is the pig of the LES closing. A gaggle of last-minute compromises that smack of favoritism and compromise.

If anyone is wondering why Dr. Kreitzer left so suddenly listen to his comments and watch his body language. Obviously, he was not getting paid enough money to put his stamp of approval on such cronyism