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November 23, 2012

City to shutter nursery school

(Continued)

At the Monday meeting, Scannell spoke to the parents and handed out a document outlining the cost of other options, such as arranging transportation for the high school students to the Tenney and hiring a crossing guard, options the superintendent said would each cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“It was a very frustrating meeting,” Reynolds said. “We gave (Scannell) a bunch of options. We were willing to walk the girls to the Tenney. We all said, ‘Let us walk them, we’ll get CORI checks and everything.’”

“This is a rash decision,” said LaPorta. “I think you make a decision like this and one set of students’ situations only was thought of. They were not looking at the 4- and 5-year-olds involved in this situation. This is their first school experience. A change like that could really impact how they feel about school.”

No vote was taken by the School Committee on the decision, but some members said they supported Scannell’s decision.

“I have full faith that the superintendent and administration made the right call here,” School Committee member Evan Chaisson said in an email to The Eagle-Tribune. “This was a safely issue and the Methuen School Department’s first priority is the safety of all the children. I support the superintendent 100 percent, that’s for the record. Rangerland is not required by Methuen public schools. It’s an extra that we offer.”

Another member, Lynn Hajjar Kumm, emailed a similar response to LaPorta, who had written to express her frustration with the preschool closing.

“I spoke to the Superintendent regarding this matter, and fully support her decision,” Kumm wrote. “I believe the options Superintendent Scannell presented to impacted parents were fair and reasonable.”

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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