To kick things off, here's a question I've been asked on several occasions:

Q: Why not implement the elementary school reconfiguration in 2006-2007 regardless of whether or not the override is approved?

A: Briefly, the School Committee's plan in the event of a failed override would be to place Kindergarten at Loker, Grades 1 and 2 at Happy Hollow, and Grades 3 to 5 at Claypit Hill. Our school administrators estimate that such a reconfiguration would save about $635k after an additional $165k in transportation costs have been factored in.

It is the committee's opinion that putting such a reconfiguration in place would be premature and incur educational and logistical costs in excess of the benefits.

Benefits of the reconfiguration
- Reduced cost
- Increased curriculum uniformity within each grade
- Class size uniformity within each grade

Disadvantages of the reconfiguration
- Families might have children at 2 or even 3 schools with same start time
- Not enough time to plan adequately (closing Loker took 2 years to plan)
- Enrollment too large for Claypit Hill and Happy Hollow (see below)

Benefits of current configuration
- Cross-grade student interactions
- Easier to accommodate enrollments from Town Center or 40B project
- Neighborhood school environment

Schools run best at about 85% of capacity. Having a bit of breathing room allows for activity set-up/take-down time, routine maintenance, and a less confining feel. With the reconfiguration, the capacity utilization at Claypit Hill and Happy Hollow would increase to 97% and 98%, respectively.

That said, the committee is carefully watching elementary school enrollment. Should enrollment changes suggest the reconfiguration of the elementary schools, the committee seriously consider that option.

A more detailed answer to this question can be found on the School Committee's web site.