Suffern considers closing down elementary school due to declining enrollment
In a school board meeting on Tuesday, Suffern Central School District Superintendent Eric Gundersen recommended consolidating the district's elementary schools, reducing them from five to four.
Gundersen proposed repurposing Viola Elementary, with two buildings catering to pre-kindergarten through second grade, paired geographically with two schools for third through fifth grade students.
According to Gundersen, there has been a 23% decrease in elementary school enrollment over the past several years. School officials attribute this decline to more families in the district choosing to send their children to private religious schools.
Gundersen believes the new plan will offer educational and social benefits, and the district has addressed potential issues such as longer bus rides and diversity concerns.
While some parents express mixed emotions, one advocate for preserving Sloatsburg Elementary garnered 215 signatures for a petition.
Another parent supports the plan, stating, "People in our district will finally be able to see why Sloatsburg is so amazing. Why wouldn't we want that? We will no longer be outcasts."
The board will review the proposal and feedback, with plans to convene on Oct. 24 for a formal public hearing and possible vote.