2017-06-14 / Front Page

MSD's 6th grade plan to move forward in the fall

Board approves public advisory referendum on the question for 2018

School board meeting two weeks ago at which the subject of the 6th grade reconfiguration proposal was also under heated discussion.School board meeting two weeks ago at which the subject of the 6th grade reconfiguration proposal was also under heated discussion.The Massapequa School Board approved a compromise resolution June 16 concerning the 6th grade reconfiguration. The vote authorizes the plan, which will put the district’s 6th graders into Berner Middle School in September, to move forward. But, it also calls for a public advisory vote next year to determine whether the plan should remain in place.

The vote, which was unanimous, was taken in the early morning hours of June 16, following a heated board meeting the night of June 15 that that spilled over past midnight and included bitter debate and verbal spars between board members.

The Massapequa High School auditorium was packed for the meeting, which lasted more than two hours. The board entered into executive session and returned to open session at approximately 12:15 a.m. taking the vote. Approving the measure were trustees Maryann Fisher, Gary Baldinger, Joseph LaBella and Jane Ryan. Trustee Tim Taylor, a vehement and outspoken critic of the move, was not in attendance for the vote.

Following the vote, Superintendent Lucille Iconis posted a letter on the district website notifying residents. (See full letter below)

“This resolution fulfills the promise made sixteen months ago and affirmed during this school year by the current Board of Education to our 5th grade students,” she said.  “Additionally, it ultimately affords our entire community the ability to inform the Board’s decision regarding the future configuration of our middle school.

The reconfiguration plan was approved in February 2016 with a 3-2 vote, with Trustees Taylor and Joseph LaBella opposing it.  Supporting arguments are that the plan will provide greater educational and support services to graduating sixth graders, while its opponents insist it will put the students at risk of being introduced to illicit behavior and activities such as illegal drug use. Opponents are also concerned with size of the middle school and the costs associated with the move, which they maintain does not justify any potential educational advantages.

“The resolution provides for the smooth transition of the current 5th grade students to Berner Middle School in the fall, while affording the community the opportunity to participate in an advisory referendum to be conducted in or about January 2018,” said Iconis.

Four current Board members have publicly committed to abide by the outcome of the advisory referendum, she added.

How all of this will shake out is not clear, however, as the complexion of the board will change next month when Ryan steps down and newly elected Trustee Brian Butler, who also expressed concern about the plan, is seated. Butler has maintained that the public has not had an opportunity to express its views on the subject.

Readers can read Iconis’ letter at: 

The Massapequa School Board approved a compromise resolution June 16 concerning the 6th grade reconfiguration. The vote authorizes the plan, which will put the district’s 6th graders into Berner Middle School in September, to move forward. But, it also calls for a public advisory vote next year to determine whether the plan should remain in place.

The vote, which was unanimous, was taken in the early morning hours of June 16, following a heated board meeting the night of June 15 that that spilled over past midnight and included bitter debate and verbal spars between board members.

The Massapequa High School auditorium was packed for the meeting, which lasted more than two hours. The board entered into executive session and returned to open session at approximately 12:15 a.m. taking the vote. Approving the measure were trustees Maryann Fisher, Gary Baldinger, Joseph LaBella and Jane Ryan. Trustee Tim Taylor, a vehement and outspoken critic of the move, was not in attendance for the vote.

Following the vote, Superintendent Lucille Iconis posted a letter on the district website notifying residents. “This resolution fulfills the promise made sixteen months ago and affirmed during this school year by the current Board of Education to our 5th grade students,” she said.  “Additionally, it ultimately affords our entire community the ability to inform the Board’s decision regarding the future configuration of our middle school.

The reconfiguration plan was approved in February 2016 with a 3-2 vote, with Trustees Taylor and Joseph LaBella opposing it.  Supporting arguments are that the plan will provide greater educational and support services to graduating sixth graders, while its opponents insist it will put the students at risk of being introduced to illicit behavior and activities such as illegal drug use. Opponents are also concerned with size of the middle school and the costs associated with the move, which they maintain does not justify any potential educational advantages.

“The resolution provides for the smooth transition of the current 5th grade students to Berner Middle School in the fall, while affording the community the opportunity to participate in an advisory referendum to be conducted in or about January 2018,” said Iconis.

Four current Board members have publicly committed to abide by the outcome of the advisory referendum, she added.

How all of this will shake out is not clear, however, as the complexion of the board will change next month when Ryan steps down and newly elected Trustee Brian Butler, who also expressed concern about the plan, is seated. Butler has maintained that the public has not had an opportunity to express its views on the subject.


 

 

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