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Residents of Coxsackie-Athens district speak out against elementary reorg

Oct 07, 2021 6:00 am

Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media residents of the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District October 5, came out for a public forum to express strong opposition to a plan to reconfigure the district's two elementary schools. A public forum was conducted at the elementary school in Coxsackie to present the responses of district officials to community concerns expressed during five previous forums. The original proposal would move all students enrolled in pre-K through second grade to the elementary school in Athens and all students in third and fourth grade to Coxsackie's elementary school, regardless of a student's town of residence. The district modified the plan to phase in the changes annually so students would not be forced to move to a different school several times. Bus transportation was another concern. Transportation Director Ted Nugent said the length of the bus ride would take at most 50 minutes from start to finish, but the students that have the longest ride would change as the route changed. During the public comment portion of the forum this week, the plan drew heavy criticism from residents. John Cameron of Athens pointed out a similar idea was rejected before. Cameron, and several others who spoke during the meeting, called for the district's proposal to be subjected to a public vote. Parent Shpresa Elshani also spoke out against the plan because it will not benefit the students. Kathy Jackson, president of the board of trustees at D.R. Evarts Library in Athens, said Athens and Coxsackie are distinct communities and very unlike one another. “It’s not one community — it is two separate communities,” she said. Resident Casey McCarthy questioned the timing of the proposal during a global pandemic and with other changes in the district such as the decision to retire its long-time mascot. “This is not the right time for a change like this," McCarthy said. Parent Ryan Burdick, of Coxsackie, wants his children to remain in their community. He said. “Every parent I talked to seems to be against this [plan]. ...” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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