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Elmsford Continues With School Consolidation Inquiries

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – After three years of research, the Elmsford Union Free School District is still looking into the possibility of consolidating Alice E. Grady Elementary School and Carl L. Dixson Primary School.

With the procedure still in progress, the administration wants community feedback. After a small turnout to the first public information session, Superintendent of Schools Barbara Peters encourages Elmsford residents to voice their opinions about the possible consolidation, especially at the upcoming information meeting on Monday, Aug. 27.

"We did not believe that Dixson, in its current state, was acceptable for educating our children," Peters said about the root of the consolidation.

Last year, an architectural firm conducted a study to find the best option for the primary students. The cost-benefit analysis showed that moving the Dixson students to Grady was less costly than repairing the building or completely rebuilding it at the same location. At a past district facilities task force meeting, it was estimated that the project, depending on where the additional wing was placed, might cost $16 million to $18 million.

"The children deserve space that allows for them to truly have the advantages of a 21st-century education," said school board President Matthew Evans. "This potential expansion of Grady will allow for that. And that is so crucial. If you have a building that your students are proud of and they can call home, it is going to show positively in academic performance."

Dixson, which was built in 1894, is the oldest of the three Elmsford district schools. If the consolidation took place, Grady would receive its second upgrade since being built in the 1950s.

"I see the benefits as being able to save money on the upkeep of one building," Evans said. "It would be beneficial to the district. If you look at research, there is an academic advantage to having a school from kindergarten through grade six. With all the teachers and administrators in the same building, you would be able to see a greater level of collaboration and understanding. It would really help our children."

School officials have said there will be more continuity for the students as they graduate to elementary school. It is also anticipated that the students will feel a camaraderie, making the transition between grades easier.

"There are many benefits to the plan," Peters said. "As with any plan, there are also disadvantages and problems. And you will never please everyone. But we do want to hear from the community now. What are things that we possibly may have overlooked so that we can see if this is workable and if we should move forward or not."

While no decision is expected to be made until the end of the year, it could be sent to a community vote in December if the school board decides to continue with the plan.

The Aug. 27 meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Alexander Hamilton High School library, where presentations will be given about the plan and its possible long-term effects on the community. Hamilton High School is at 98 S. Goodwin Ave.

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