Parents from southeast St. James spoke Tuesday during the Board of Education meeting urging the Smithtown Central School District to allow their kids to follow a transition pattern that would let them attend Nesaquake Middle School.
With the closing of Nesconset Elementary prior to the 2012-13 school year, the transition pattern to the middle schools changed, and now some students that graduate from Mills Pond Elementary will be sent to Great Hollow Middle School in Nesconset, not Nesaquake Middle School.
Some St. James parents feel this is unfair and want their kids to attend Nesaquake, a school within their own community.
These parents, many adorned in red shirts taking up a section of the Joseph M. Barton Building auditorium, asked the board Tuesday for the permission to choose what middle school their kids would attend.
"I also understand that as a result of redistricting there is a small section of St. James between St. James Elementary and Dogwood Elementary where families are given the choice of where their children would attend school ... I would ask the board to please consider in the spirit of equity and fairness extending that accommodation to southeast St. James in helping to alleviate potential hardships."
Another St. James parent, Judy Pedley, presented a petition to the board, a petition that was placed on Change.org and since has accumulated more than 600 signatures as of Tuesday night with parents interested in keeping their kids in the transition pattern to Nesaquake prior to Nesconset's closing.
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Superintendent Anthony Annunziato said during the meeting that redistricting was an issue he believed the district needed to look into prior to the St. James parents raising their concerns.
"There are certainly inequities within the attendance zones of the district. It's very hard to just look at a middle school feeder pattern or a Dogwood buffer zone without looking at what the implications may be should we be looking at a redistricting of the entire district."
After the meeting, Annunziato said since he was not the superintendent when the transition pattern decisions were made he has to go through the data accumulated, the Citizens Advisory Committee reports and more before he presents any options the district has and his recommendation to the board.
Annunziato added he has no hard date for when he'll make his recommendation, but would like to have something to present to the board by the beginning of March.