Curtiss School will start merge in fall
HAMMONDSPORT—The merger of the Curtiss Elementary School to the Main Street campus will start in September, as explained by Superintendent Kyle Bower.
At a public meeting Thursday, March 26, Bower described what the plans were for combining the two Hammondsport District schools, in order to get accurate information out into the community. The reason for the merge is because the number of students in the district has gone down. Bower said by the time of the merge there will be about 550 students in one school, Pre-K to grade 12. For the 2002/2003 school year, the Main Street campus had 570 students, not including those at the Curtiss School.
“There aren’t enough students to justify maintaining (The Curtiss School)” he said.
Bower said because of the decrease, it could come down to the question of needlessly maintaining two buildings when trends indicated a continued decrease in students. He said he did not want to have to cut programs just to maintain two buildings, explaining he has spoken with people in the community who value those programs.
He said that the school board’s plan has the merger completed by 2010. The first phase is to have the fourth graders move into the Main Street school for the start of the next school year in September, 2009. The second phase would have the fifth grade students follow suit the next school year. Bower said he did not think it was possible to move all the students from the Curtiss School to the main school during one summer. The preparation would include making sure the additional nine classrooms, one computer room and one library were ready.
Combining the two schools would also not require any major construction. The biggest work would be turning the primary library into the Elementary office. Bower said the master plan is to have an Elementary section, middle level section and high school section that are easily identifiable as those areas.
One repeated public concern was what would happen to the Curtiss School building. Especially because the deed lists that the property must be used for educational purposes forever. Bower said discussion was still going on over what would happen with the building. He added the facility would still be availavle for sports use for at least one more year. One option concerning the deed is that a college could make use of the property. However, Bower said colleges may not have the funds in the current economic situation to use the building if they wanted.
Another change will be the administration. Bower said next school year Tad Rounds will be the principal for grades seven through 12 and Michelle Sincerbox will be the principal for Kindergarten through sixth. The following year Rounds would be principal for grades six through 12.
Bower added that if there is a sudden increase in students, the Main Street campus can hold up to 800 students. Even if the school district suddenly had 100 more students, the number would be below that maximum.