BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN
RCSD Superintendent Bolgen Vargas sent an e-mail response to questions about School 16. This is an edited version of that response:
“The recommendations for School 16 are based on the challenging physical conditions of the building. For now, the recommendations are temporary for 2012-13. I reserve any permanent recommendation for School 16 or any other building until I have a total examination of our entire facilities and needs.”
“I expect to release a report by Sept. 15 that articulates the facilities needs in the district in light of our academic program delivery and the harsh realities of declining enrollment due to the charter school movement, families moving out of cities, and families choosing private schools, as well as fiscal challenges.”
Vargas was responding to the concern of some parents and community members that the district wants to close School 16 permanently.
Rochester school district Superintendent Bolgen Vargas will hold a public meeting tonight to help plan the immediate future of School 16 on Post Avenue. Several members of the school board are also expected to attend.
School 16 is a pre-K to grade 7 school that was scheduled to add the eighth grade this fall. But the school lacks the science labs the eighth graders need, says board member Willa Powell, and also has infrastructure problems. The problems were discovered by Vargas during a tour of the school.
Vargas has presented three options to the school board until repairs can be done:
- Move Pre-K through grade 8 to a different building;
- Move grades 7 and 8 to a satellite program in another building;
- Move students in grades 6, 7, and 8 to another school.
Powell says the school board could approve one of the options at a special board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, at central office. But, she says, some board members feel Vargas is moving too fast and it’s possible the proposal could be tabled.
Tonight’s meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at School 16, 321 Post Avenue.