I am opposed to the proposed k-8 change as it would not be best for my own family. I planned for my kids to walk to their middle school when I looked at whether to apply for a magnet position or my neighborhood school. They would have walked in middle school, but will would be bussed w/the new proposal.
As someone who has taken education courses, and seen many education trends come and go, I'm not so convinced the k-8 model is better or worse than the 7-8 model. I would like the district to look at how this benefits the majority of the district, not just my own personal needs.
That said, what bothers me about the proposal is that one of the advantages to the middle school I'd have sent my kids to, would now be gone (being a walker). And, that advantage would also be gone for other students who currently feed into Central Park. Most of what I've read and heard about this proposal talks about how this proposal will be a great option to Schenectady families (only those who get in by lottery), and that the model is expected to make improvements in achievement and behavior. I realize that not everyone at Howe sees the option as an advantage, but I don't hear the district telling the current Central Park feeder schools how any of this will be an advantage to them. Since k-8 is not really an option for our family at this point (even if I could get in by lottery, I wouldn't want to separate my kids from their peers and teachers in their neighborhood school), I'd like to hear what the district has to say about how this move for all the prior central park feeder schools will be advantageous to them. The district should be selling what is already unique, creative and exciting about Mt Pleasant and ONeida in addition to really looking at how to make these schools desirable in new ways. I don't mean spending lots of new money on both schools. When purchases are made, they can be made around a theme, or when grant programs come up, they should be considered for these two 7-8 schools, as you are already offering something unique to King and Howe by going to k-8. What are other new things that are happening in middle school education? What are some of the passions of current staff at Mt Pleasant and Oneida. Right now it just feels like you're pushing a proposal which may benefit those who are able to attend the new k-8, and kind of just letting the rest of us know where we'll need to go instead. Take some time to look at these 2 schools as part of this whole proposal.
I think you need to slow the whole process down, or should have more openly looked for input at the beginning of the school year regardless of whether you were 100% sure if you'd found the space for Zoller and Lincoln students to have their own 6th grades. You say you've been planning this all along, so there should have been more lead-time for direct parental and staff input.