Board of Education approves consolidation of Mount Vernon schools

Despite the fervent efforts of parents affiliated with Rebecca Turner Elementary and Benjamin Turner Middle School, the school board president asserted that the consolidation serves the best interests of both taxpayers and students.

Ben Nandy

Aug 16, 2023, 9:47 AM

Updated 300 days ago

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A new plan has been solidified to merge two Mount Vernon schools, with implementation set to commence in the upcoming school year. 
Despite the fervent efforts of parents affiliated with Rebecca Turner Elementary and Benjamin Turner Middle School, the school board president asserted that the consolidation serves the best interests of both taxpayers and students.
The decision was reached during Tuesday night's meeting of the school board. A unanimous vote led to the merging of the two schools. This consolidation will transform the institutions into a unified K-8 school. 
School officials have dedicated a year to the planning of this change and underscored the importance of sharing the deliberation process leading to this challenging resolution. Nevertheless, some parents are only now learning about the decision, and their concerns are multifaceted: encompassing safety, convenience, and the quality of education.
Particularly among parents of special-education students, the transition to a different educational environment raises pronounced concerns. One parent expressed frustration at the perceived lack of parental involvement throughout the decision-making process.
Parent Bianca Lopez said, "The talks of this restructuring were happening over the past year, but where was the talk with parents? The lack of parental involvement in this decision-making process was appalling. It's disheartening."
Michelle Whalan, a grandmother of an elementary-school student, isn't pleased with the decision. "I don't think it's [going to be] very comfortable for the smaller children. They need that separation so that they can mature accordingly."
School district officials assert that suitable accommodations have been identified for special-education students. Furthermore, the implementation will incorporate enhanced security measures, including security guards stationed at each entrance and the erection of a fence between the two consolidated schools.
Meanwhile, the elementary school building is still going to be used. District officials say the prekindergarten program is going to stay at the elementary-school and the alternative-high-school program is moving in.


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