District May Transition South Programs to North

By Alex Malm

During the Oct. 18 School Board meeting, members were advised there may be a need to transition some of the programs conducted at South Elementary School to North School in the near future.
“The three programs were run at South School because space was available in the past,” Interim Superintendent, Dan Black, wrote in a memo to the school board. “There is still physical space for these three programs at South School with current enrollment projections, but we have reached the conclusion that it is no longer sustainable for South School to house all three programs in one space due to a variety of factors.”
Black said it is something that they have looked at for a while.
“We can’t ask one building to take on more than other buildings,” said Black.
As part of the proposal, current students in kindergarten to third-garde that are in the district wide behavioral/ emotional program would shift from North Elementary School next year. Most of the staff at South School that work in the district wide program would make the transition as well.
“A small contingent of staff would be utilized to work with the students in grade 4 and 5 (2023-24 school year grades) to complete their elementary education and then transition to Londonderry Middle School,” said Black.
Black stated they believe they will be able to make the transition with the amount of staff they have.
“We believe we can do it based on the number of kids and staff we have,” said Black.
He said he thinks it will be equitable for everyone in the district.
“We think it’s the right plan for all our kids,” said Black.
One of the concerns Black pointed to however is the amount of space at North School and there is the potential they may need to use a couple of portables.
“At some point, either in this budget cycle, or a future budget cycle, we do see the potential to add temporary classroom space at North School to be able to run this district-wide program and keep up with the enrollment trends and current programming that occurs at North School right now,” Black told the School Board.
School Board member, Bob Slater, said he wanted them to look at other ways to make it work without having to go with portables.
“I’d like to look at every possible way rather than portables,” said Slater.
Black explained if there are any budget impacts they will bring it back to the School Board. It would likely be the case if they decide if they need portables or not.
“This switching of a program location is an administrative change, but we are just being public and transparent about the change with the school board, so you all have time to ask questions and make sure you are also comfortable with the change before we proceed any further,” Black said in a memo.

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