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Long IslandEducation

Parents angry that Long Beach may shutter school

This January 2013 photo shows East Elementary School

This January 2013 photo shows East Elementary School in Long Beach. Photo Credit: Google Maps

The Long Beach school district is considering turning East Elementary School into an administration building -- a prospect many parents of the school's students oppose.

District Superintendent David Weiss said closing East to students is one of several options on the table for reorganizing the district, which has slightly less than 3,600 students. He said restructuring is necessary because enrollment is down more than 600 students from 10 years ago.

The Long Beach school board could vote on reorganization at its Feb. 11 meeting, Weiss said. But the district will first hold an open forum for parents on Tuesday.

Weiss described reaction to removing students from East as "mixed."

He added: "There are people that believe it's a centerpiece to that neighborhood. There's a question of balancing what's good for kids."

Point Lookout resident Leah Enfield, who sends two of her children to East, said the community will come out against repurposing the school at Tuesday's meeting. She said parents are concerned about school overcrowding and disrupting students who are adjusting to Common Core academic standards.

"I want to give the kids the best chance to do well," Enfield said.

The district's options include repurposing East and reorganizing the district; reorganizing the district and keeping East open; or doing nothing, school records show. Repurposing East would save the district the most money -- more than $1.6 million, records indicate.

The Half Hollow Hills school district -- also grappling with school closures due to declining enrollment -- decided two of its seven elementary schools will close at the end of the school year.

Long Beach school board member Roy Lester, who sent three of his children to East, said the board can't make a decision before listening to the residents and school community. "There are all sorts of things that happen when you talk about closing a school," Lester said. "People get very upset about it."

Tuesday's forum is scheduled at 7 p.m. at Long Beach Middle School, 239 Lido Blvd. in Lido Beach. It is open to the public.

With Mackenzie Issler

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