Athens village officials concerned about Coxsackie-Athens plan to reorganize
Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media during a meeting of the Athens Village Board Jun. 23, officials expressed opposition to a proposed reorganization of the Coxsackie-Athens elementary schools. The comments were made in response to a presentation made by district Superintendent Randall Squier to the board. Under the plan, district students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through second grade would attend school in Athens, while students in grades 3 through 5 would be assigned to the school in Coxsackie. “This is a topic we had a conversation about most recently five years ago as a district and in the ’90s as well,” Squier said. He said the topic was revived by district teachers. The district held two public forums in early June to gauge community reaction. “We are in the gathering information and feedback phase,” Squier said. Two more forums will be held in early August. Deputy Mayor Gail Lasher expressed strong opposition to the plan and said it could impact Athens negatively and village board member Rickie Gabrielle agreed. Opponents of the plan were concerned that a reorganization could lead to the closing of the Athens school. “It has been done in other communities that have done this, like Cairo-Durham,” Lasher said. “And so yes, we do think of that. You can still say it is Coxsackie-Athens, but all of Athens would be up at Coxsackie [if E.J. Arthur were to close]. ...” Closing the Athens school would not be possible, Squier said. Lasher asked that concerns voiced by Athens residents be taken into account in the decision-making process. “I just hope that before we make a final decision, that you realize what it could do to this community by taking a couple of older grades out of Athens,” she said. “I hope you consider that.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.