Cortland forum to discuss possible closure of local elementary school

Representatives from Castallo and Silky LLC, a Syracuse-based education consulting group, addressing parents at Parker Elementary School on Nov. 9, 2017 (Sara S./Cortland Voice)

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Members of the public can voice their concerns at an open forum tonight over the potential closure of a local elementary school.

The Cortland Enlarged City School District Board of Education will host a public forum to gauge public input regarding a study examining the feasibility of the district maintaining five elementary schools.

The forum will be held Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Cortland Junior/Senior High School. The event will be moderated by SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum.

Parents first learned of the potential closure in November, when a letter was sent home to parents of students at Parker Elementary School informing them that a committee was looking into closings one of five elementary schools. In addition to the Parker school, which enrolls about 250 students, district officials are also considering shuttering Virgil Elementary School, which enrolls about 125 students.

See related: Will the Cortland City School District close one of its elementary schools?

Those wishing to speak at Tuesday's forum will need to sign up prior to the start of the meeting, and there will be a two-minute time limit for speakers. Speakers also need to submit a written copy of their remarks. For those who can't attend the forum, written statements can be sent to the school board.

"This is an opportunity for the Board of Education to listen to everyone's concerns and ideas," Parker Elementary School Principal Joshua I. Bacigalupi said in a letter to parents. "They will not be engaging in dialogue or answering questions at this meeting. They will make their decisions after they have a chance to digest the information from the study and this forum."

The following letter was sent to parents of students at Parker Elementary School on Monday, Feb. 5.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Parker Elementary School Principal Joshua I. Baciagalupi. We apologize for the error.