Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization

Sachem School Board votes to close Tecumseh and Gatelot Elementary Schools and Sequoya Middle School

Members of the Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization attended the last Sachem School Board meeting, the main focus of which was the decision to close three schools to help address the district's financial difficulties. A summary of the meeting follows:

The Sachem School Board met Wednesday evening January 20, 2016 to make the final decision on school closings. The School Board had voted to propose closing Tecumseh and Gatelot Elementary Schools and Sequoya Middle School during their December 16, 2015 meeting. The next and final steps to finalize the proposal were a Public Hearing and then a School Board vote. The Public Hearing occurred Wednesday. Numerous people addressed the School Board members covering three basic issues.
Residents associated with Gatelot expressed their disappointment that Gatelot was selected. They cited comments in the report of the Facilities Study Committee Report from January 2014 stating that Gatelot should not be closed.
School nurses and parents expressed concern about nurse staffing after realignment.
Residents expressed concern about Administrative and Custodial staffing after realignment.
The School Board closed the Public Hearing and commenced the regular meeting. Item 9.3 was the resolution to close Tecumseh and Gatelot Elementary Schools and Sequoya Middle School. This resolution passed by a vote of 6 to 3. The school closings take effect with the school year starting September 2016.

The School Board and Administration advised meeting attendees that the vote does not decide staffing of Nurses, Administrative or Custodial personnel for the upcoming school year. Staffing will be determined during the budget process which will commence shortly.
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The School Board and Administration also advised meeting attendees that they intend to make every effort to lease the closed schools and do not intend to sell them at this time. They pointed out that they leave the option open to reopen the schools at a later date if circumstances warrant.