From the Desk of the Superintendent

There are moments when communities are faced with consequential decisions that determine overall wellness and long-term vitality. Often, unaware voters are met with regret after the votes have been tallied. I feel an obligation to provide “prior notice” to the community of the actual consequences of a failed referendum on September 26.

In short, a failed referendum will result in significantly more disruption to the learning environments of our youngest learners, untenable burdens on the annual school budget impacting kids through high school, while accelerating the timeline to close Island Avenue School. A successful referendum minimizes disruptions and employs responsible bonding to protect the school budget, precisely as the high school debt sunsets.

If approved, students will have minimal disruptions, limited to two years while Jeffrey School is renovated in a long-term plan. If the referendum fails, our youngest learners will endure significant disruption over a period of years. Elementary students will make additional transitions to multiple schools, and, perhaps most disruptive, endure ongoing maintenance/construction projects during the school day.

Responsible bonding of facility projects actually enables the school district to prioritize children, teachers, and extracurriculars in the school budget. This plan prioritizes kids and teachers over brick and mortar, contrary to recent unfortunate misinformation. If failed, the annual school budget would shoulder burdens that impact all kids through high school, including extracurricular programs (i.e. athletics, arts, etc.).

The need for three elementary schools has diminished. The entire BOE voted to build a new Ryerson School, and plan to renovate Jeffrey School. Within this long-term plan, Island Avenue School will close. A failed referendum would initiate a closure process, perhaps closing Island as early as June 2019.

A “yes” vote will minimize student disruptions, keep the school budget focused on kids, and stabilize our schools with a long-term plan that serves the community.

Thomas Scarice
Superintendent of Schools