Wednesday, February 21, 2024


No Decision Yet on Potential Seven Mile School Consolidation


By Leslie Truluck

SEVEN-MILE ISLAND — There has been no decision yet regarding a potential merge of Stone Harbor and Avalon elementary schools, Stone Harbor Board of Education President John Atwood told the Herald.
David Rauenzahn, superintendent of both schools, said no date has yet been set for a follow-up joint board meeting for this month, as suggested at previous meetings. Each board individually gained input from their respective communities during regular November meetings.
Atwood said residents referring to Seven Mile Island as “Fantasy Island” is counterproductive. The title of a 1970s television show became a buzzword to endearingly refer to the combined boroughs throughout a Nov. 11 Stone Harbor school board meeting.
Atwood said, “Nothing is off the board” as far as consolidation options presented by Centennial Associates, LLC. The company prepared a feasibility study for the Avalon and Stone Harbor boards of education on educational options for consolidation.
The boards have, however, narrowed their choices, including a one or two-school combined Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade district. A one-school district would likely utilize Avalon Elementary School because of improved facilities; or two separate districts with two schools, likely Stone Harbor with grades K-4 and Avalon with Pre-Kindergarten and grades 5-8; or status quo.
Another option to combine with Middle Township school district was not recommended and basically dismissed by the company preparing the feasibility study.
If required to vote on a decision now, Atwood told the Herald he’d prefer status quo.
Both school boards will hold regularly scheduled meetings this month. Stone Harbor will hold its meeting Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the school. Avalon’s meeting is Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at the school.

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