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No decision made on possible school closing

Natural boundaries, transportation, and the emotions of their children were three of the main concerns expressed by parents and citizens gathered at a public hearing Thursday night regarding potential attendance boundary adjustments and the possibility of closing Newbern Elementary School.
The proposed boundary adjustments would move affect 387 elementary school students within the Pulaski County Public School system. Of those students, 43 would move from Critzer Elementary to Pulaski Elementary, 27 students would move from Newbern to Critzer, 75 students would move from Pulaski to Critzer, 161 students would move from Dublin Elementary to the new Riverlawn Elementary, and 81 students would move from Newbern to Dublin.
At the opening of the meeting, Pulaski County School Board Chairman Paul Phillips said that the purpose of the meeting was to hear recommendations and observations from the public about the proposals, and encouraged those in attendance to share their concerns openly. He also said that the board would take these comments and concerns into consideration when making their decision.
A large portion of the parents gathered at the public hearing had children who attend Dublin Elementary School, but with the boundary adjustments, the children would attend Riverlawn Elementary next fall. Several of those parents, particularly those who live in the area stretching from Powell Avenue to Highland Park in Dublin, questioned the logic in sending their students to Riverlawn when they live much closer to Dublin Elementary.
One parent said that he is in no way concerned about the quality of Riverlawn, but his child lives so close to Dublin Elementary that it doesn’t make sense for them to switch to Riverlawn.
Along those same lines, many parents also expressed their concerns about transportation, and bus routes in particular.
One parent who lives in the Lillydale community and who has children who attend Dublin Elementary said that with her children being moved to Riverlawn, they would have a much longer bus ride every day.
Ronnie Nichols, director of operations and maintenance within Pulaski County Public Schools, noted that with the new boundaries lies potential for a new transportation scheme, and said that there would be the possibility of having separate buses for the elementary, middle and high schools, so there is a chance that some children might have shorter bus rides.
That same parent responded that separate buses would mean more buses on the road, and therefore would require more money for gas and more dollars from tax payers.
Along with transportation, several other parents expressed their concerns about having to move their children to a different baby sitter or child care center before and/or after school, due to the boundary changes.
Some also commented said that the main reason they bought the houses they live in was so that their child could attend a specific school.
Many parents in attendance also voiced their concerns about the emotions of their children, and several commented that, to them, that was the most important thing.
A few parents said that their children came home crying every day about the fact that they would have to go to a new school. One parent said his child felt like they were being "kicked out" of their school.
One parent made the suggestion that if the boundary changes are made, the children be bussed to their new schools and spend at least half a day there so that they can get used to their new environments. She also said that it would be particularly important to work through the changes with younger children on their level, as they might not understand the changes.
She also suggested that teachers have a chance to communicate with students and parents about their emotions in a less formal environment, as much of the communication about these potential changes have been very formal, usually in the form of letters.
As for the closing of Newbern Elementary, one parent asked for the reason why it would be closing.
Phillips responded that there are many factors, including low enrollment at the school, which is expensive because there is still a full staff at the school, and also the lack of growth in that area of the county.
He commented that as a child, he attended Newbern, so he understands the importance of that school in the community, but times have changed, and there are concerns about equity and access for students in regards to technology, the lack of a gymnasium and other aspects of the school, when compared with the newer schools in the county.
Several parents asked when the final decision would be made about the boundary adjustments and closing of Newbern Elementary.
Phillips responded by saying that the board hopes to make a timely decision, and that they will look at the proposal for as long as it takes to make the best possible decision for the students of Pulaski County.
He also encouraged parents to speak with the principals at their child’s school to work out individual situations regarding these potential changes.

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No decision made on possible school closing

Natural boundaries, transportation, and the emotions of their children were three of the main concerns expressed by parents and citizens gathered at a public hearing Thursday night regarding potential attendance boundary adjustments and the possibility of closing Newbern Elementary School.
The proposed boundary adjustments would move affect 387 elementary school students within the Pulaski County Public School system. Of those students, 43 would move from Critzer Elementary to Pulaski Elementary, 27 students would move from Newbern to Critzer, 75 students would move from Pulaski to Critzer, 161 students would move from Dublin Elementary to the new Riverlawn Elementary, and 81 students would move from Newbern to Dublin.
At the opening of the meeting, Pulaski County School Board Chairman Paul Phillips said that the purpose of the meeting was to hear recommendations and observations from the public about the proposals, and encouraged those in attendance to share their concerns openly. He also said that the board would take these comments and concerns into consideration when making their decision.
A large portion of the parents gathered at the public hearing had children who attend Dublin Elementary School, but with the boundary adjustments, the children would attend Riverlawn Elementary next fall. Several of those parents, particularly those who live in the area stretching from Powell Avenue to Highland Park in Dublin, questioned the logic in sending their students to Riverlawn when they live much closer to Dublin Elementary.
One parent said that he is in no way concerned about the quality of Riverlawn, but his child lives so close to Dublin Elementary that it doesn’t make sense for them to switch to Riverlawn.
Along those same lines, many parents also expressed their concerns about transportation, and bus routes in particular.
One parent who lives in the Lillydale community and who has children who attend Dublin Elementary said that with her children being moved to Riverlawn, they would have a much longer bus ride every day.
Ronnie Nichols, director of operations and maintenance within Pulaski County Public Schools, noted that with the new boundaries lies potential for a new transportation scheme, and said that there would be the possibility of having separate buses for the elementary, middle and high schools, so there is a chance that some children might have shorter bus rides.
That same parent responded that separate buses would mean more buses on the road, and therefore would require more money for gas and more dollars from tax payers.
Along with transportation, several other parents expressed their concerns about having to move their children to a different baby sitter or child care center before and/or after school, due to the boundary changes.
Some also commented said that the main reason they bought the houses they live in was so that their child could attend a specific school.
Many parents in attendance also voiced their concerns about the emotions of their children, and several commented that, to them, that was the most important thing.
A few parents said that their children came home crying every day about the fact that they would have to go to a new school. One parent said his child felt like they were being "kicked out" of their school.
One parent made the suggestion that if the boundary changes are made, the children be bussed to their new schools and spend at least half a day there so that they can get used to their new environments. She also said that it would be particularly important to work through the changes with younger children on their level, as they might not understand the changes.
She also suggested that teachers have a chance to communicate with students and parents about their emotions in a less formal environment, as much of the communication about these potential changes have been very formal, usually in the form of letters.
As for the closing of Newbern Elementary, one parent asked for the reason why it would be closing.
Phillips responded that there are many factors, including low enrollment at the school, which is expensive because there is still a full staff at the school, and also the lack of growth in that area of the county.
He commented that as a child, he attended Newbern, so he understands the importance of that school in the community, but times have changed, and there are concerns about equity and access for students in regards to technology, the lack of a gymnasium and other aspects of the school, when compared with the newer schools in the county.
Several parents asked when the final decision would be made about the boundary adjustments and closing of Newbern Elementary.
Phillips responded by saying that the board hopes to make a timely decision, and that they will look at the proposal for as long as it takes to make the best possible decision for the students of Pulaski County.
He also encouraged parents to speak with the principals at their child’s school to work out individual situations regarding these potential changes.

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