Parents speak out on Suffern Central Schools plan to consolidate

The district has had plans for months to repurpose one of its five elementary buildings.

Veronica Jean Seltzer

Oct 4, 2023, 2:09 AM

Updated 291 days ago

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Suffern Central School District Superintendent Eric Gundersen revealed Tuesday his recommendation to consolidate elementary schools in the district. 
The district has had plans for months to repurpose one of its five elementary buildings. 
On Tuesday, Gundersen proposed that be Viola Elementary. Two buildings would then house pre-kindergarten through second grade paired geographically with two schools for third through fifth-grade students. 
The superintendent says it's necessary, in part, because elementary enrollment is down as more families in the district choose private religious schools for younger students. 
Gundersen says the new plan will have educational and social benefits, and the district has found solutions to possible issues, including long bus rides and diversity concerns. 
Many parents spoke during the meeting Tuesday, especially parents from Sloatsburg.
 "We're buying houses because of that school. We invest money because of that school," one parent said. She had collected 215 signatures for a petition asking the district to consider keeping Sloatsburg Elementary as it currently is.  
"People in our district will finally be able to see why Sloatsburg is so amazing. Why wouldn't we want that? We will no longer be outcasts," said a parent who likes the plan. 
The board will consider the proposal and feedback for three weeks then meet Oct. 24 for a formal public hearing and possible vote.


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