Schools delay decision on school closing, redistricting

Would closing an elementary school save taxpayers a $1 million? Not even close.

That was the message delivered to the Board of Education Monday night, following a presentation from consultants Milone and MacBroom that reviewed school closing and redistricting scenarios.

Superintendent Karen Baldwin estimated that the personnel savings from closing Scotland Elementary School — the school that the consultants have selected based on a set of criteria — would result in less than $200,000 in savings.

Board members wondered if the risk associated with moving 30% of elementary school students was worth it compared to the possible savings.

Two members said they were against closing an elementary school and reconfiguring the district to five kindergarten-through-fourth grade elementary schools and two fifth-through-eighth grade middle schools.

Both opposing members cited the emotional toll such a move would create on children, as well as the lack of potential savings.

Prior to the board's discussion and the consultant's presentation, eight members from the public spoke against closing a school and redistricting several dozens of students.

"This is small, short-term thinking," one parent said. "There's no long-term gain...the children of Ridgefield deserve better than this."

The board will revisit the issue at its Jan. 23 meeting.