Remember the Mineola school grade configuration study - the one that was going to be a precursor to perhaps closing a school or schools in the Mineola School District as a cost-cutting measure? The Mineola Board of Education is still planning to hold a final focus group with School Leadership LLC, the firm conducting the study, and the community to hear input on plans to potentially close schools and reconfigure the grades of the district.
The board may plan on holding the focus group in late September or early October. The board may be nearing the end of its decision on whether to close a school or schools or keep all seven open as they currently stand.
The results of a community survey sent to all residents in the district and presented to the board at the end of May indicated that the majority of residents want the board to move forward and close at least one school.
The only option where the number of respondents agree to continue considering outnumbers the number disagreeing is the fourth option, which calls for closing two schools, according to the survey results.
Under Option #4, the district would keep in middle school (sixth to eighth grade) and the high school (ninth to 12th grade) as they are presently configured; houses pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in one school and uses two school buildings for grades two through five. According to School Leadership, the estimated operating savings for closing these two schools under this plan would be $2.62 million.
Comments made by members of the public in the survey indicate a difference of opinion as to whether the board should close a school or schools.
"I seriously doubt any savings would be passed on to us by way of property tax reduction so I vote to leave it the way it is," said one comment.
However, another stated, "If we don't start to see school tax savings, I will have to move out of the area."
Another comment indicated that the educational program in the district is improving so all the schools should remain open while another comment stated that the district should use only the buildings it needs and rent the others.
One member of the board, John McGrath, who has more years of service on the Mineola Board of Education than any other board member, has already stated publicly that he is not in favor of closing any schools.
At Thursday's board of education meeting, the district has its enrollment figures as of Sept. 4, 2008.
Willis Avenue School - 399 students
Cross Street School - 201 students
Hampton Street School - 203 students
Jackson Avenue School - 355 students
Meadow Drive School - 193 students
Mineola Middle School - 584 students
Mineola High School - 781 students
Total - 2,716 students