More than 500 people have signed an online petition that parents from a small corner of St. James created asking the district to change a transition pattern that sends St. James students to middle school in Nesconset.
According the Change.org petition, "Smithtown School District's Board of Education: Allow All Saint James Children to Attend Nesaquake Middle School," the problem stems from the closing of the Nesconset Elementary school last summer. When that school closed, Nesconset students were sent to Mills Pond, and the bulk of the St. James students moved to St. James Elementary. That is, except for kids who live South of Woodlawn Avenue on the west side of Lake Avenue who were kept at Mills Pond.
The problem is students who graduate from Mills Pond will be sent to Great Hollow Middle School in Nesconset, a problem for St. James parents who feel their kids are not being allowed to go to school within their own community at the Nesaquake Middle School.
"As a result, this small group of southeast Saint James students will be separated from students in their home community of Saint James until high school – 9th grade – not middle school as was originally expected," the petition read.
All St. James students would attend high school at Smithtown East.
Parents are also concerned that not allowing the students to attend middle school in St. James will alienate them from community activities and extracurriculars.
"Interscholastic athletics begin in 7th grade. These students will be deprived the opportunity to begin school team sports with children from their home community; Religion classes and Scout troops are arranged according to school boundary lines, which will result in this small group of Saint James children being assigned to predominantly Nesconset groups; Performing groups such as band, orchestra, cheer and kickline will perform at Nesconset events whereas Nesaquake groups will perform at Saint James events," according to the petition.
While the petition is still shy of its 600-signature goal, parents plan to attend Tuesday's board of education meeting to confront the board on this issue.
Parents Nesaquake can easily accommodate the extra 30 students a year from St. James who would move up from Mills Pond.
Stay tuned to Patch for updates on this issue.
Are you a Nesconset parent? How do you feel about this petition?