Amy Ezagui said she was shocked when she visited her son’s second-grade classroom on Sept. 17 for Marion Street School’s Meet Your Teacher Night, and saw how 24 students had to cram into a small classroom.
“There was no place for the teacher to safely walk around,” she said.
Ezagui and three other parents expressed their concern about the crowding at a Board of Education meeting on Oct. 10.
At the meeting, one mother, Eileen Linzer, said that in the fourth grade, there are 98 students divided into four classrooms. “We are packed to the gills at Marion Street,” she said.
She added that she was worried about what would happen if other fourth-graders transferred into the school this year.
“We’re really, really, really pushing the envelope potentially this year, but certainly for years going forward,” said Linzer, who is also the Marion Street Parent Teacher Association president.
Ivy Reilly also expressed her concern about a teacher’s ability to teach 25 students. “If you ask Mrs. Flannery if she could teach 25 kids, I’m sure the answer is ‘absolutely, fantastic.’ She can do anything,” Reilly said. “That doesn’t mean she should have to.”
In response, Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak said that the board is aware of the issue and that the district will continue to monitor enrollment figures.
Some parents also offered solutions to the perceived overcrowding issue. Reilly suggested that the Lynbrook School District change its boundary lines for each school and Lauren Pignataro said that the district should consider implementing a Princeton Model method of teaching, whereby each elementary school would house only certain grades to equalize the class sizes and pare down the teaching staff.
Linzer also asked the board if it could change its policy on school choice for students who live one mile from all three elementary schools, which currently permits parents to choose which school they’d like to enroll their children, in order to “make the overcrowded school not a choice.”
“The inconvenience of a few is going to far benefit the many,” she said. “These kids are not getting a fair shake when they are literally tripping over each other in a classroom.”
“I think that if we put our heads together and explore different possibilities, hopefully we can come up with a solution that doesn’t make everyone happy, but benefits the students,” Ezagui added.