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Neighborhood schools in future?

Panel returns findings on future elementary set-up

September 20, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — After months of wading through technical data, the ad hoc committee charged with compiling evidence on the pros and cons of school reorganization will present its findings to the School Committee next week.

The Neighborhood Schools Study Committee is quite specifically not recommending any specific option, but was tasked to look at the "advisability of moving … to a neighborhood school configuration," the draft report states. "We have chosen to present our results … as a series of observations, research-based opinions and critical factors that the School Committee should consider and debate."

According to Superintendent Eric Ely, the group started with eight ideas but whittled them down to four for more in-depth research: the current grade arrangement; two versions of a dedicated "early childhood center" and multiple sites for grades 1-5; and multiple pre-K to 5 schools. They specifically did not consider fiscal issues, but did discover several "common themes" in the research literature and tried to lay out "perceived advantages and disadvantages" of each.

Ely emphasized the "perceived," noting some people will see some of their positives or negatives oppositely.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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