Suffern Central School District looking to consolidate elementary schools

Suffern Central School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Gundersen told News 12 the consideration comes as more young children attending private religious schools.

Diane Caruso and Rob Taub

Aug 28, 2023, 9:43 PM

Updated 240 days ago

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The Suffern Central School District says it is considering consolidating some of its elementary schools.
Suffern Central School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Gundersen told News 12 the consideration comes as more young children attending private religious schools. Data from 2013 to 2021 shows there's been a 23% decrease in Suffern Central’s elementary school enrollment.
"So, we really have an opportunity to take something that can be seen, in some cases, as detrimental to a public school district,” said Gundersen. “And that's not the case here. We're seeing how we can take a decreasing enrollment and really turn that into something that's going to benefit the public-school students that are here in Suffern."
Gundersen added they worked with a group of local parents and then a consulting group to come up with the plan, which entails going from five elementary schools to four, with two buildings for kindergarten and second grade students and the other two buildings for third to fifth graders. The former school would either be repurposed for the district or possibly become a Rockland BOCES facility.
"The board, the superintendent, we all believe that we're going to make positive change here,” said Suffern School District Board of Education President Matthew Kern. “Now is the time to do it."
Gundersen plans to discuss this further during the school board's second meeting in September. If approved by the school board, it would be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year.


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