Future plans for Long Beach school anger parents

Kristin Thorne with the report from Long Beach, Long Island
January 24, 2014 3:22:52 PM PST
Parents on Long Island are expressing their anger over a plan to close an elementary school, but it's what they want to do with the old building that has parents really upset.

"I moved to this neighborhood to just be near this school and it would be devastating to tear it from the community," Risa Lewak said.

People here call East Elementary the heart and soul of Long Beach's east end.

it's been around since 1926. This is a Long Island institution. Billy Crystal went here

But under one of five plans now being considered by the school district, the school's 360 students would be dispersed throughout the three other elementary schools.

The school district says the proposals are being considered because of financial constraints that have forced them to look at maximizing space throughout the school system.

"Most of my friends go here. Some of us won't go to the same school as each other," student Wyatt Parker said.

"The board is really trying to consider all the alternatives and say long term what is really in the best interest of all the students and the students at East," superintendent David Weiss said.

Weiss says the Long Beach school district has seen steep declining enrollment over the past 10 years, which has forced the board to rethink how it divides up all of its youngest students.

"We know that we can do some rearranging, rearrange how we use the space," Weiss said.

Weiss says if the board decides to move the students out of East, the building will be used as administrative offices. Administrators have been working out of the middle school after Superstorm Sandy destroyed their building.

"They keep saying it's not being closed, but if the kids don't go here, it's essentially closed. It doesn't matter if it's an administration building or not," parent Jason Parker said.