Parents push to stop modified Princeton school plan in Suffern

Viola Elementary School parents met with Suffern Central School District officials Tuesday to discuss the proposed plan that would ultimately mean students there would have to go to other buildings in the district while Viola is repurposed or potentially used by Rockland BOCES.

Diane Caruso

Oct 11, 2023, 9:46 PM

Updated 282 days ago

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Several parents in Suffern are attempting to stop the school district from moving forward with a modified plan for its elementary school.
Viola Elementary School parents met with Suffern Central School District officials Tuesday to discuss the proposed plan that would ultimately mean students there would have to go to other buildings in the district while Viola is repurposed or potentially used by Rockland BOCES.
"I personally am very sad about this. We moved to this area because of the school system,” said parent Andrea Barouch. “Because we believe in Viola. Because we believed in our principal. Because we believed in our community. And that's being taken away from us."
Hundreds have signed an online petition to "save their elementary schools." Parents also wrote a 14-page paper about why they oppose the idea.
Others, however, are in favor of the plan.
"I think it's really going to benefit the district in the long run,” said parent Rose Schmidt.
Schmidt believes the plan would be better for kids because more kids at one school would lead to more programs.
News 12 previously reported the plan would have two elementary schools for pre-k to second graders. Two other elementary schools would have third to fifth graders, while Viola students would be split up geographically.
School officials say the move is needed because of decreased enrollment as more parents send their kids to private religious schools.
“Suffern Central School District is committed to ensuring that all of our elementary school students receive exceptional educational opportunities as well as consistent and equal access to resources, programming and services, no matter where they live in the District,” Suffern Central School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Erik Gundersen said in a statement.
The school board could decide if the plan goes through at a meeting later this month.


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