NEWS10 in the Classroom: Cairo-Durham re-alignment plan

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CAIRO, N.Y. — Parents and teachers say
hour-long or longer bus rides and the over-crowding of an elementary school are
just a few of their issues with a re-alignment plan in
Cairo-Durham passed by last year's Board of Education, which splits grades K through 5th into
two buildings.

After a heated board meeting
Tuesday
night over the changes that will begin on the first day of school,
today reporter Taryn Kane sat down with both the superintendent and a parent to get an in-depth
look at both sides.

Parents say they know bus
rides will naturally be longer because it's a rural district, but they say the
plan to bus students in grades K-2 to Durham and students in grades 3-5 to
Cairo, despite where they live, makes no sense.

“I don't believe that
splitting up the grades is the right choice,” says Samuel Mozzillo, a
parent of a child in first and third grade.  “Most kids will be fine
with an hour long bus ride, but it's the uneasiness in the district, it's the
fact that nothing is being set in stone.”

“I understand from our
computer software which is extremely accurate, we've done dry runs, we've been
out, we've tested and it's an hour or less,” says Superintendent Mary
Fassett.

Fassett says merging the two
schools into one could be an option to entertain, but she must follow the
direction of the board of education.

“If they would like to
change their mind at a future time, based on new information, you will see me
very enthusiastically march in that direction.”

But parents in the district say
their concerns go way beyond bus rides.One parent emailed pictures to
NEWS10 of what they call the poor conditions of Durham Elementary School.

“Those holes have been
buried under file cabinets until we started doing this move this year and
actually my guys are patching those holes as we speak,” says Kevin Lawton,
the district's facilities director.

With the first day of school just
two weeks away, Mozzillo knows little can be done right now, but says the state
of the district must change.

“I don't see our district
moving forward where we need to be,” he says.

“Everybody has the same
concern, it's the children,” says Fassett.  “We want to make
sure our children are safe and that they are well-educated.”

Fassett says they
will be conducting a study this year to evaluate if it will be a financially
sound decision to close Durham Elementary School next year.

 

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