School Could Be on Chopping Block

Concerned parents packed into Enfield's Board of Ed meeting to urge members not to shut down one of the elementary schools in an effort to shave off four million dollars from next year's budget. On the proposed chopping block: Alcorn School, Stowe Elementary, Enfield Street School or the Nathan Hale School.

"Every kid is affected when a school closes. There are emotions attached to your school, no matter what school it is," said Susan Braun, a parent of students at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary.

But school officials say a closing may be the only solution.

"Unless we see a pretty strong portion of funding through the economic stimulus package, we may have no other choice but to seriously consider closing an elementary school," said Board of Ed Chairman Andre Greco.

The top two suggestions include shutting down one of the town's nine elementary schools and redistricting the other eight. Elementary schools serve kindergarten through grade 6. The other option is closing down a school and sending some 6th graders to the middle school. That has some parents worried.

"He'll be a minority because he's younger and I'm afraid of a little picking on because kids in the middle school age tend to like to pick on the little ones," said Braun.

The Board is left with the ultimate decision, and even parents realize they are left in a tough place. The Board needs to balance a school budget while doing what's best for students.

"It's scary. Because if it's a school this year, and the budget's cut, is it a school next year, what's going to keep happening?" asked Tina LeBlanc, the P.T.O. President at Stowe Elementary.

Nothing was decided at Tuesday's meeting, but over the next two months, the Board will deliberate to decide what's best for the district. That could mean closing a school by September 2009.

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