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LES Closure: Appeal to Commissioner Not Ruled Out

Patch File Photo: Lewisboro Elementary School.
Patch File Photo: Lewisboro Elementary School.
An appeal to the state's Commissioner of Education of the Katonah-Lewisboro school board's vote to close Lewisboro Elementary School is not being ruled out by an anti-closure group.

A statement on behalf of Save K-L Schools notes, "We continue to explore all of our options at this time."

State law, according to the New York State Department of Education, allows for appealing actions taken by at a "school district meeting" or by "school authorities" to the commissioner. However, appeals are required within 30 days of the actions, according to state law, although the commissioner can grant exceptions.

The option of an appeal to the commissioner has been raised as a scenario by multiple local news outlets in recent posts, both before and after the closure vote.

The school board voted on Jan. 23 to close LES, which is effective Aug. 31. This means that for the 2014-15 school year the district will only have three open elementary schools instead of the current four. 

The district's estimates are for less than $2 million in recurring annual savings by doing so. LES students will be redistricted to Increase Miller Elementary School (IMES) and Meadow Pond Elementary School (MPES), according to a plan that was adopted the same night by the board. Falling enrollment and savings have been cited by officials as reasons to close LES.

Save KL Schools, along with a multitude of LES parents, have opposed closing the school in 2014, with concerns ranging from the amount of time to fears of class size, academic impact and to property values. While falling enrollment, and a demographer's projection of the trend continuing, have formed a main reason for shuttering LES, some residents have questioned the data. Several opponents called for waiting a year before a decision is made.

Asked about the possibility of an appeal, school board President Charles Day wrote, "I'm confident that the state education Commissioner Will uphold the closing of Lewisboro elementary school as the board followed both the letter and the spirit of the school closing laws of New York State."

Day added, "The board's priority now is to make the transition to the three school model as smooth as possible for the students of KLSD and to continue the process of setting the District onto the path of a sustainable financial future."
Ross Revira January 28, 2014 at 08:04 PM
If only they would just move. How is Ireland this time of year?

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