NEWS10 in the Classroom: Cairo-Durham re-alignment plan - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 in the Classroom: Cairo-Durham re-alignment plan

CAIRO, N.Y. -- Parents and teachers say hour-long or longer bus rides and the over-crowding of an elementary school are just a few of their issues with a re-alignment plan in Cairo-Durham passed by last year's Board of Education, which splits grades K through 5th into two buildings.

After a heated board meeting Tuesday night over the changes that will begin on the first day of school, today reporter Taryn Kane sat down with both the superintendent and a parent to get an in-depth look at both sides.

Parents say they know bus rides will naturally be longer because it's a rural district, but they say the plan to bus students in grades K-2 to Durham and students in grades 3-5 to Cairo, despite where they live, makes no sense.

"I don't believe that splitting up the grades is the right choice," says Samuel Mozzillo, a parent of a child in first and third grade.  "Most kids will be fine with an hour long bus ride, but it's the uneasiness in the district, it's the fact that nothing is being set in stone."

"I understand from our computer software which is extremely accurate, we've done dry runs, we've been out, we've tested and it's an hour or less," says Superintendent Mary Fassett.

Fassett says merging the two schools into one could be an option to entertain, but she must follow the direction of the board of education.

"If they would like to change their mind at a future time, based on new information, you will see me very enthusiastically march in that direction."

But parents in the district say their concerns go way beyond bus rides.One parent emailed pictures to NEWS10 of what they call the poor conditions of Durham Elementary School.

"Those holes have been buried under file cabinets until we started doing this move this year and actually my guys are patching those holes as we speak," says Kevin Lawton, the district's facilities director.

With the first day of school just two weeks away, Mozzillo knows little can be done right now, but says the state of the district must change.

"I don't see our district moving forward where we need to be," he says.

"Everybody has the same concern, it's the children," says Fassett.  "We want to make sure our children are safe and that they are well-educated."

Fassett says they will be conducting a study this year to evaluate if it will be a financially sound decision to close Durham Elementary School next year.


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