Response to Questions and Concerns from Anna Devine Community

  • The questions below were submitted by the Anna Devine community through a letter from members of the Parent Teacher Association. Answers from the District are indicated by a bold italicized font.


    Since the possibility of closing Myer instead of Anna Devine was being considered, we would like to offer the following points:

     

    -       Anna Devine was at one time serving 350 plus children.  We had three classes of every section.  We have room to increase our current capacity.

    Answer: Anna Devine has experienced population decrease of 100 students in the last 10 years. This equates to a 30% decrease in enrollment, which is double the rate of the District as a whole. Moving students from other schools to a school with a shrinking population would not be the best overall solution for the District. The recommended redistricting plan was created with the purpose of establishing equity in education for all students.

     

    -       Compared to Anna Devine, Myer has a higher likelihood of being re-purposed because of its location.

     

    Answer:  This is an unknown. While Anna Devine is in a rural setting, the solid building structure, recent upgrades, and historic one room schoolhouse cited in the question below may increase the potential to re-purpose the school.

     

    -       The solid building structure and recent upgrades to roof and electric strengthen the case to keep Anna Devine open. The good condition of our school is further augmented by its historic one room schoolhouse and a thriving outdoor classroom/garden, both of which are intensively used for educational purposes.

     

    Answer:  Myer (the school compared for this question) has$ 5.7 million in needed repairs as opposed to $6.3 million at Anna Devine according to the 5 year Master Facilities Plan.  Per student, Anna Devine costs for construction are higher than Myer. The costs are estimated at $22,000 per student at Anna Devine versus $18,000 per student at Myer.

     

    Answer: The historic one room schoolhouse is a great piece of history but does not contribute to the overall mission of the District to provide a sound basic education to all students of the KCSD.


    Answer: Many of our schools have community gardens, including Chambers, John F. Kennedy and George Washington.

     

    -       Although we see why the merging of one school with another has worked for Meagher and JFK, we are a widely-dispersed rural community, and hence it is surely worthwhile to consider re-drawing some lines rather than moving a whole student population from these outlying rural areas.  Although school communities do not want to be split, we are facing very real day-to-day issues regarding long bus rides.

     

    Answer: Transportation is a valid concern that is shared by parents throughout the Kingston City School District. We are currently analyzing all bus runs in this proposal in order to report the distance, length of time on bus for our students, and the fiscal impact of this proposal. We intend to have more definitive information on this by the end of the week.

     

    At the redistricting forum Dr. Padalino presented a K-5, 6-8 plan that included merging Myer into Edson, Sophie Finn into Graves, Zena into Chambers, and keeping Anna Devine open. Could this same combination be considered for K-4, 5-8? We offer the following points in support of this option:

     

    -       Myer into Edson (schools are 2.6 miles from each other)

     

    -       Sophie into Graves (these schools are 3.7 miles from each other)

     

    (At the redistricting forum, this plan merged Zena with Crosby.)

     

    Answer: The recommended plan consolidates two more sections than the above suggestion, which saves an additional $200,000.  A greater consolidation of services is achieved through the recommended plan.  For example, teachers/specialists who travel to our outlying schools lose approximately 1 full month of instructional time due to travel between schools. This equates to a ten-month employee who only instructs or provides services for our students for 9 months of the year.  Myer’s location allows for the possibility of use as a magnet for both English as a Second Language and Students With Disabilities.  Bussing these students to Anna Devine would be educationally and fiscally inappropriate.

     

     

     

     

    We also wish to emphasize the concerns of Anna Devine families who do not support the merge to Graves, as we feel that these concerns have not been sufficiently noted.

     

    -       The distance from Anna Devine to Graves is 7.5 miles and the distance from Tillson community to Graves is 12 plus miles.    

    Answer: As stated above, bus runs are being solidified this week.7/31/12

     

    -       Merging Anna Devine and Graves doesn't increase the diversity of our elementary school experience.

     

    Answer: There are few reconfiguration options that would increase the diversity of our Anna Devine students’ elementary experience while addressing parents’ concerns regarding long bus rides.

     

    -       We will be moved to Miller Middle School with this merge, which represents another significant change in the school community we are familiar with. We also feel that this is an unacceptable distance for our children to travel.

    Answer: There are many possibilities for creating Middle School attendance zones. Middle school feeder patterns are still under development. I hope to work with the Board on further developing other options to present to the community after in the light of recent feedback I have received from them.

     

    -       We request evidence that busing routes are being analyzed and that these proposed routes support the school closure recommendations.

    Answer: See previous answers regarding transportation

     

    -       Bus safety is a major concern.  What steps are being taken at the middle school busing level to secure that our children are traveling to the closest middle school?

    Answer: The District will implement the Peaceful School Bus program in all elementary and middle school buildings in the district.  The District is also investigating placing cameras on all school busses.

     

    -       The winter road conditions (floods, ice, and storms) for the commute to Graves are a very serious concern.  Rte. 32 is generally open and safe.  Creek Locks Road and Rte. 213 have had major problems in the past.

     

    Answer: Given the geography and climate of our area it is difficult to predict such things.  We often experience flooding that closes off parts of Broadway in the City of Kingston when it rains; there is a sinkhole that has re-routed our busses to George Washington for the last six months. Winter road conditions are a concern throughout the District, the use of snow days will be applied judiciously.

     

     

    Furthermore, we ask for more careful consideration of the dramatic changes and long-term effects that closing Anna Devine will create in our school district’s demographics.

     

    -       The redistricting plan is centralizing all schools in towards the city of Kingston and losing its connection with the other towns it borders. We have a very large population of parents who work in the towns south of KCSD (New Paltz, Wallkill, Gardner, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie).  We have chosen our homes because of their proximity to Anna Devine, which allows us to live in KCSD and work south.  The Anna Devine neighborhoods will no longer be viable or desirable real estate options for families in our position in the future.  This will be a loss to the entire KCSD at a time when we need to draw families to our district.

     

    -       By shutting down the outermost schools, the district is limiting its future growth in these areas. 

     

    Answer: There is much concern regarding the loss of property values in the areas where schools are proposed to be closed. There is no real way to measure the impact of these closures.  The impact of Kingston City School District being unable to provide a sound basic education to all students will most likely have a greater impact on property values than the closing of a school. 

     

    Answer: As stated earlier, there has been a significant decrease in enrollment in the Anna Devine attendance zone over the last ten years.  The district has no reason to project growth to prior student population numbers.

     

     

     

     

     

    Finally, we offer a summary of more specific questions from specific families within the Anna Devine community:

     

    Has an option to only close two more schools been considered?

    Answer: Multiple options have been explored as shown in several presentations.

     

    If this proposal to merge Anna Devine and Graves is adopted, has an option been considered to move Graves to Bailey Middle School?

     

    Answer: No, but there are many options to be explore regarding middle school configuration.

     

    My son is graduating from Anna Devine this year and moving to Bailey.  His brother, who is two years younger, might be moved to Graves if the proposal is adopted. Graves students move on to Miller Middle School.  Will you be asking me to send my children to two different middle schools?

    In light of redistricting, unique circumstances such as this one will be given the appropriate consideration and accommodation. We want to work with families to find the best solutions in situations like these.

     

    If Anna Devine closes, is it possible some of us could be given the option to go to Myer?  We live near Rte. 32 and Rosendale.  We often travel up Rte. 32 and we consider Myer within our community, while Graves is a long distance for young children to travel by bus. We realize it is best to move a whole school community together, but we have only been at Anna Devine a year and we would prefer to send our up and coming young children (toddlers and baby) to Myer in the future if Anna Devine closes.

     

    Answer: For a variety of reasons, the recommended proposal moved communities as a whole to new schools, rather than splitting up the current community configurations.

     

    We live on Kalop Road.  We have three children.  Our first child went to Myer.  Our second two children are at Anna Devine due to re-drawing of the lines.  Now it is possible our children will be moved to Graves?  This represents THREE moves to three different school communities for our family.  Our first daughter is now at Bailey Middle School.  Will my other two children go to Miller school?  This means our family will have experienced 3 elementary schools and two middle schools. This is too many changes in school community for my family.

    In light of redistricting, unique circumstances such as this one will be given the appropriate consideration and accommodation. We want to work with families to find the best solutions in situations like these.