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Long IslandEducation

District: Displaced Prospect School students to start classes Monday

Kindergartners and pre-K students forced out by a lighting strike will use space at Franklin Square's St. Catherine of Sienna School through next March, officials say.

St. Catherine of Sienna School in Franklin Square

St. Catherine of Sienna School in Franklin Square will temporarily house kindergarten and pre-K students starting Monday, officials said.     Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

The 2018-19 school year will begin Monday for kindergarten and pre-K students of Prospect School displaced because of severe damage from a lightning strike, Hempstead school district officials said Wednesday.

The district had been awaiting approval from the state Education Department on its lease with the Diocese of Rockville Centre for St. Catherine of Sienna School in Franklin Square, where the students are to remain through June.

The approval came Wednesday morning, setting off a flurry of activity as school staff and teachers prepared their classrooms for 530 kindergartners and at least 72 pre-K students, said Nicole Epstein, a spokeswoman for the district.

Interested Prospect School parents and guardians can tour the Franklin Square school, located at 990 Holzheimer St., on Friday, said principal Carole Eason in a letter sent to parents Wednesday and posted on the district’s website.

On Monday, kindergarten students will be picked up at 7:30 a.m. from their home schools, and pre-K students from their assigned bus stop, according to the letter.

The distric scrambled to find a new location after an Aug. 7 lightning strike set the roof of Prospect School on fire. Damage from the blaze and water used by firefighters made the building unusable this school year. Repairs are expected to be completed by mid-March of 2019.

All other students in the district began classes Sept 5. District officials have been providing updates to parents through emails, letters, the district’s website and fliers posted in the community. The Village of Hempstead also sent out a robocall to residents in English and Spanish, officials said.

After a comprehensive search, district officials opted to lease the former Catholic school for $479,052, of which, up to $250,000 will be covered by the district’s insurance, officials have said. The remaining costs will be covered by state lease aid and, if needed, the district’s fund balance.

State education officials expedited the lease approval process.

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