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June 1 community town hall meeting, grade re-configuration to be discussed

| May 25, 2016

On June 1 at 7:00 p.m. all members of the North Colonie community are invited to attend a town hall meeting in the Shaker High School auditorium to discuss the steep increase in enrollment at the elementary level and the Board of Education’s plan to move the sixth grade to the junior high school in the next 3-4 years to address this problem.

Due to increases in enrollment over the past few years, the elementary grade levels have reached maximum capacity in some buildings. A recent demographic study forecasts an additional 939 students enrolling over the next ten years, mostly populating grades K-6. Additionally, the Capital District Regional Planning Commission projects that the district will experience 800 new housing units coming online between 2016 and 2020.

The North Colonie Board of Education and administrative team have spent the last year exploring and discussing options to address this challenge. In addition, the district hired a planning consultant to further study possible solutions.

At an April community forum, district officials outlined the enrollment problem and discussed the planning work that had been done to date. Community members in attendance discussed possible solutions to the problem, largely favoring the option of moving the sixth grade to the junior high school, and a PreK-5 model for the elementary level. The Board of Education took into consideration this feedback from the community, along with the findings of the administration and planning team and has concluded that moving the sixth grade to the junior high school is the most viable option.

While moving the sixth grade to the junior high school is the option that the Board of Education and administration is likely to choose, other options, including building a new elementary school and renovating the former Maplewood Elementary School, have been thoroughly explored, but have proven to not be cost-effective.

 “To do nothing at this juncture would be irresponsible,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “I believe we are headed in a direction that has the most academic benefits for our current and future students, and the most financial benefits for our taxpayers. We have spent a great deal of time researching various options to ease the district’s growth in enrollment, and have looked at all potential decisions from varying perspectives. I look forward to discussing all of this with our community on June 1.”

The town hall event will begin at 7:00 p.m. on June 1 in the Shaker High School auditorium. An opening presentation outlining the process to date, along with potential solutions that were considered will be explained, followed by a community question and answer session by a panel.

Panel members will include:

Joseph Corr, Superintendent
Kathleen Skeals, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
Bill Furlong, Assistant Superintendent for Business
Dr. Russ Moore, Shaker Junior High School Principal
Kerry Flynn, Loudonville Elementary Principal
Linda Harrison, Board of Education President
Dan Woodside, Vice-President, CS Arch (Architecture/Engineering/Construction Management)

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