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West Carthage pre-K moving to Black River Elementary

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WEST CARTHAGE — The village elementary school will have one classroom free next year.

The Carthage Central School Board of Education agreed at Monday’s meeting in Carthage High School to move West Carthage’s universal prekindergarten class to Black River Elementary next year because of space constraints.

“This is a temporary fix to an overcrowding situation,” board member Mary Louise Hunt said. “There’s no winning here. Bottom line is that we need space, and I don’t know how else we can get it.”

All three elementary schools in the district have universal pre-K programs. In a previous meeting, Assistant Superintendent Andrea K. Miller said the programs tend to have wait lists because of their popularity.

Board member Anne M. Rohr was worried the children who would be riding the bus for a half hour to get Black River would not be well acclimated when they started elementary school in West Carthage the next year. She also said knowing older siblings are not far away comforts young children who may be scared to leave their parents the first few days.

“It is a sense of comfort, knowing those kids would be on the bus or at least in the school building,” she said.

She said only one classroom space would be freed up.

Board member Joseph A. Colangelo said one free classroom is better than none.

“We’re desperate,” he said. “We need more rooms in West Carthage.”

The second proposition in the $16.9 million capital project defeated in mid-March included adding four classrooms to West Carthage.

Re-emphasizing her statement at the May 6 board meeting, Mrs. Hunt said the special program is free for students to enroll in. However, she said, the district should give priority to the children who are enrolled at the elementary school, especially if those students need more classroom space.

“Our primary responsibility is to our kindergarten to fourth-grade students, and we need to be responsible to teach them,” she said.

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