Middle schools under the microscope
Committee discussing location, enrollment
N.Y. (March 28, 2017) -- The committee tasked with studying long-term
enrollment in the City School District of Albany on Monday sought more
information as it moves closer to its decision deadline.
The Phase 2 Grade Configuration Steering Committee –
made up of parents, community members and district staff – is studying
long-term middle-school enrollment options in the district as the number
of students continues to exceed the existing space available.
Enrollment in the district’s elementary and middle
schools is up more than 26 percent since 2008-09. Based on a
December 2015 demographic study, the district anticipates as many as
425 more students in grades 6-8 by the start of the 2025-26 school year.
The committee’s charge is to recommend a location for
an additional middle school and a new enrollment pattern for all middle
schools. In June the committee will report its recommendations to the
Albany Board of Education, which has the final say.
Committee members on Monday asked for cost estimates
on two possible location scenarios:
Renovating the current
Arbor Hill Elementary School into a large (800-plus student) middle
school and converting the 50 North Lark middle school into an
elementary school. Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and
Hackett Middle School would continue as middle schools with
approximately 700 and 675 students in each building; each facility
was built to hold 650 students.
Keeping the middle school at 50 North Street to
accommodate about 450 students and renovating either North Albany
Academy or Arbor Hill Elementary to accommodate 450 students. Myers
and Hackett would have approximately 650 students in each of their
Preliminary estimates indicate that the first option
may be more cost-effective but not provide enough room to accommodate
all middle-school students. The second option would provide enough room
house all students with room for growth but may be more expensive.
The committee considered but rejected two other
options: taking no action or building a new middle school.
The committee also asked district staff to
investigate potential enrollment patterns for three and four schools by
evenly spreading the higher-performing elementary schools and
lower-performing elementary schools across the middle schools to create
a better balance.
The committee’s next meeting is
April 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center, 75
Watervliet Ave. Members of the
public are welcome to attend and observe.
to learn more about the committee’s work in the past 18 months.