Chittenango set to close Lake Street Elementary School

Chittenango Board of Education will vote to approve a proposal to close Lake Street Elementary at a meeting next Tuesday.

At a community presentation on Monday night, Chittenango Superintendent Michael Schiedo outlined the district's proposal to close Lake Street Elementary School. The board will approve the proposal at a meeting next Tuesday.

The proposal stems from decreased enrollment within the district since the 1970s, coupled with financial troubles. Chittenango schools have lost $2.4 million in state aid over the past five years.

Although parents are not pleased to see Lake Street Elementary closing, they understand the decision. "Nobody likes closing an elementary school, but it is the most prudent thing to do in a district our size," said Sheila Pitt, a mom of two students in the district.

If the district did not decide to close the school, non-mandated programming, including music, art and interscholastic athletics, would have been cut.

With the school's closure, families will now be redistricted and schools restructured. Bolivar Road and Bridgeport Elementary Schools will become K-4, while Chittenango Middle School will accommodate grades 5-8.

The restructuring is causing some concern among parents. " You've currently got 6th graders through 12th graders on the same bus, and then now adding the element of 5th grade on the bus, more 10-year-olds with 17-year-olds, is a concern," said mom Kelly Lampher, who has two children in the district.

But Schiedo stressed that he has everyone's best interests at heart during the transition. "I've been attached to this community for 25 years, and my children went through school here," Schiedo explained. "So I want these students to have the same opportunities my children did. I have a vested interest in doing what's best for the school and the community."

Changes will not be put in place until the 2015-2016 school year.