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Tonight: School Board Vote on LES Closure

Vote is scheduled a week after contentious final public hearing.

The Katonah-Lewisboro school board will vote tonight on whether or not to close Lewisboro Elementary School, a decision on what has been a major controversial item locally.

The resolution for the closure lists the effective date as being Aug. 31, 2014. A majority on the board, which is four out of seven board members, is needed to approve the closure.

As the review process winds down, the frustration from opponents has continued. At the final public hearing last Thursday, most speakers were against the proposed closure. They included current LES parents and somer former LES parents. Sadness was among the reaction, as were calls to delay the decision.

“We can wait a year,” said Susan Lasota, who has spoken out repeatedly against the proposal.

Opponents cited concerns that have been raised before, whether it involved questioning data being used, impact to community and real estate, and disruption coming as there has been a transition to Common Core.

The hearing got tense repeatedly, including during attempts made by school board President Charles Day to get speakers to adhere to a time limit. At one point during the hearing, a man uttered a word of displeasure between coughing after remarks from board member Richard Stone.

Closure opponents have some prominent supporters, including the Lewisboro Town Board, which called for a delay in a statement that was read at the hearing by Supervisor Peter Parsons (video is at this link). Additionally, state. Sen. Greg Ball has spoken against the closure, according to a recording uploaded to the YouTube account of anti-closure group Save KL Schools.

Former school board member Michael Gordon spoke at the hearing in favor of the closure, citing population as a factor (video is at this link). Falling enrollment is a main reason for why the school board is considering shuttering LES.

The meeting is scheduled for tonight at 7:30 p.m. at John Jay High School's cafeteria. The agenda is at this link.

The school board will not vote to finalize an accompanying redistricting plan, however, as that is slated to be done by mid-February. Some Increase Miller Elementary School (IMES) parents spoke at last week's hearing with concern about the most recent iteration, which would move 94 IMES kids to Katonah Elementary School (KES). Under that scenario, some of the displaced LES kids would move to IMES. 

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