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Elmsford Residents Like School Consolidation Idea

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – While it might be a little bit unfamiliar for the young students, the proposed consolidation of Alice E. Grady Elementary School and Carl L. Dixson Primary School would benefit the children, many Elmsford School District residents and officials said Wednesday night.  Approximately 20 parents, students and staff gathered at Dixson to discuss the possibility of moving Dixson's students and staff up the hill to Grady, merging the two schools.

"I do think it's good to keep all the younger kids together," said Barbara McPartlan, a 37-year Elmsford resident whose grandson attends Alexander Hamilton High School. "I think it's a good idea. The benefit would be for the kids."

Dixson lacks a library, a large gym, and an auditorium big enough to hold all of the students' parents for program nights. A consolidation with Grady would save Dixson renovation money to install those necessities, McPartlan said.

Having the students continue to attend Dixson in its current state is unacceptable, said Dr. Barbara Peters, superintendent of the Elmsford school district. Dixson was Elmsford's first school, built in 1894. The district's facilities taskforce and last year's building condition survey found that many changes and renovations would need to be made at Dixson to keep it up to speed, including making some windows larger for fire safety and making the school handicap-accessible.

"If the two schools were to merge, I think it would be a big change," said Zuleima Mazo, a senior at Alexander Hamilton. "There was always three buildings. So having the schools merge is going to be a big difference."

While Peters could not give an exact cost savings for the district if it decides to consolidate, she said it would save more money than renovating or completely starting anew at Dixson. With the consolidation, the district would need to construct an additional wing onto Grady to fit the new students.

Peters and Robert Williams, Elmsford's mayor, both stated that there has not been any serious change in the school district's population over the past 10 years, ensuring that the consolidation effort is not happening because Dixson is decreasing in students.

The Elmsford School District is looking for volunteers to join the community voice committee, which will be formed by Jan. 31. The committee's job will be to review recommendations from the facilities taskforce, examine district-wide needs that were identified in the 2011 building conditions survey, review the items that were considered in the 2005 capital project and identify any additional pressing district needs.

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