Two Preschool Sections Moving to Deerfield
One morning and one afternoon class will move in order to relieve space problems at South Mountain.
School officials are planning to split up the integrated preschool program to alleviate crowding issues at South Mountain Elementary School.
Schools Supt. James Crisfield and Director of Special Services Julianna Kusz said during Monday's school board meeting one morning and one afternoon section of the program will move from South Mountain to Deerfield Elementary School in 2011-12 to solve the space issue.
Last fall, parents at South Mountain addressed the school board about a crowding issue at the school, asking for assistance in solving the problem. Crisfield promised then to examine the issue to find a solution that could work long-term. The district hosts an integrated preschool program that is half special-needs students and half regular education students. The regular education students are chosen through a lottery system.
Kusz said Monday the preschool has not always resided in one school over the years, and when looking for relief they found space at Deerfield. The program's integrity still would be maintained, including with the study teams. Plus students whose home school would be Deerfield would be placed there, and the same would be for South Mountain, she said.
But Deerfield parents were concerned with the change, citing how Deerfield already has over 500 students and wondered what classroom they could lose.
Melissa Cifu, Deerfield PTO co-president, said the school has 517 students and no empty rooms. She worries there could be a crowding situation at Deerfield, which also took on redistricted students this school year.
Crisfield said the preschool program doesn't have as many requirements on the school's assets, like the cafeteria and gym, as other grades because it's a half-day program. And Deerfield would be enough classrooms for everyone.
"We're talking about one room," he said.
Clare Begley, a South Mountain parent, said the move allows the school to get a room back after years of giving up room after room. It's not a matter of getting back a room for the special programs, she said, but for the main classes. But she hopes Deerfield doesn't face the same problem.
Amy Talbert, a Deerfield parent, said she loves the preschool program, but she worries how it would be affected by splitting it up. The kids in the program do a lot together.
Kusz said there are benefits to everyone being together, but there are different things that can happen with students at Deerfield, including some students being able to go to their home school.
Applications are being accepted until March 1 for the regular education students in the preschool program, and the lottery will be held on March 2. An information session will be held on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at South Mountain.