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SWR to build more classrooms despite SED recommendation

SWR sign

The Shoreham-Wading River school has decided to install eight new classrooms in its elementary schools as initially planned even though the state Department of Education is recommending the district only build six classrooms.

For weeks, the board had been discussing the matter and delaying a vote until it could examine the potential impacts. At Tuesday’s meeting, it voted 5-0 to approve building all eight classrooms. Board president John Zukowski and member Michael Fucito were absent.

The state education department’s decision was based on a survey from Western Suffolk BOCES. That survey found two planned classrooms in the Wading River Elementary School to be unnecessary due to predictions about future enrollment. The study expects fewer students to enroll in the school than the amount that would be needed to fill all four classrooms.

The district’s Board of Education, however, believes the rooms will all go to use — even if they are not used for traditional instruction. In previous meetings, members noted that the school is currently overcrowded.

“The board is skeptical of the demographic predictions [in the demographic survey],” Dr. Cohen said. “We think there will be sufficient demand for that space.”

Four classrooms in the Wading River Elementary School and four in the Miller Avenue Elementary School were included in the district’s bond project.

At the board’s Dec. 15 meeting, assistant superintendent for finance and operation Glen Arcuri said the two Wading River School classrooms would not be covered by New York State Education Department aid, meaning they would miss out on roughly $400,000 in aid over a 20-year period that normal classrooms receive.

The other two Wading River classrooms and all four Miller Avenue classrooms will likely receive aid, Mr. Arcuri said.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated BOCES made a recommendation to the district to build six classrooms. It was the state Department of Education that made the recommendation to the district, a decision that was based on the BOCES survey. The News-Review regrets the error.