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School enrollment meetings to discuss proposed changes for 2019-20

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 8, 2019) -- The City School District of Albany is planning four school-based meetings in March to talk with families and get feedback about enrollment changes the Board of Education is considering for the 2019-20 school year. These changes would affect students and families at Arbor Hill Elementary School, Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School of Excellence, North Albany Academy, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy and Sheridan Preparatory Academy.

 

The board discussed enrollment changes for these schools at its meeting March 7. Please follow these links to read an overview of these proposals from Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Lori McKenna, as well as the 2019-20 Enrollment Impact presentation from the meeting.

 

The school-based meetings will provide details about each option for families and community members. The meetings will be held on the following dates (please follow the links to read a letter from each school's prinicpal):

 

The district first proposed enrollment changes for next school year at the Jan. 31 board meeting to address enrollment growth at O'Neal Middle School.

 

"We have learned in the 18 months that O’Neal has been in operation that the building cannot adequately serve the temporary enrollment pattern the district put in place when it opened O’Neal," McKenna said. "So we have been studying a variety of options to reduce the enrollment at O’Neal while continuing to provide our students with a robust middle school experience."

 

However, the district now is facing a significant budget deficit for 2019-20, which prompted a deeper study in February of declining enrollment at district elementary schools on the north side of the city. In the past year, the combined enrollment at Arbor Hill, North Albany and Sheridan Prep has declined by about 100 students, or nearly 10 percent. To address those factors along with the need for enrollment reduction at O'Neal, the board is considering the following options for the 2019-20 school year:

  • Arbor Hill and North Albany expand to add sixth grade. This would reduce sixth-grade enrollment at O'Neal by about 80 students. Students from Schuyler and Sheridan Prep would continue to attend sixth grade at O'Neal under this option.

  • All students scheduled to attend O'Neal for sixth grade would shift to North Albany. O'Neal would continue to serve students in grades 7-8. Under this option, students currently in prekindergarten through grade 4 at North Albany would re-enroll at the district's other 11 elementary schools.

  • Students currently in grade 5 at Schuyler and North Albany would attend sixth grade at North Albany. This would reduce sixth-grade enrollment at O'Neal by about 80 students. Students currently in grade 5 at Arbor Hill and Sheridan Prep would continue to attend O'Neal for sixth grade. Under this option, students currently in prekindergarten through grade 4 at North Albany also would re-enroll at the district's other 11 elementary schools.

 

The school-based enrollment meetings will address each of these options in detail, including enrollment options and choices that would be available for North Albany families if the board selects one of the options that would repurpose North Albany as a small, temporary middle school. Feedback about each option will help inform the board's decision-making process in the coming weeks.

 

The board's next discussion about these proposals will be at its March 21 meeting, scheduled for North Albany Academy beginning at 7 p.m.

 

The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves approximately 9,400 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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