Guilderland School District

Agenda Item

Altamont Classroom Space Needs and Pre-K Classroom Lease




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Due to increased enrollment, Altamont Elementary will be adding a additional primary (K-2) section next year.  The Building Cabinet met to discuss options for the placement of classrooms next year.  Currently, the eight classrooms located in the 400 Wing serve as the K-2 primary wing.  For 2016-17, there were two sections of kindergarten, three sections of first grade, two sections of second grade, and one section of inclusion students with special needs.  For 2017-18, there will be two sections of kindergarten, three sections of first grade, three sections of second grade, and the inclusion class for a total of nine sections; one more section than the number of available classrooms. 


Building Cabinet explored several options including isolating either one primary class or the inclusion class from the rest of the wing.  That option was viewed as detrimental for the collaboration and sharing that occurs at the grade level as well as limiting opportunities for inclusion. A second option considered was to move the two kindergarten classes back to the 300 Wing.  The 300 Wing currently houses art, band, music and the two leased pre-k classrooms.  For that option to be viable, two classrooms among those dedicated for art, band, or music would need to relocate.  The option considered was to move the art classroom to the 400 Wing, band to a small room near the front office for lessons, and use the cafeteria stage for band rehearsal. Using the 400 Wing classroom for art results in a smaller classroom space and a lesser number of sinks that will negatively impact the daily instruction. Band lessons near the main office area would be noisy and would require instruments to be transported back and forth from the stage two to three times a week for rehearsals. The programmatic concerns are increased transition time, reducing instructional time, and the likelihood for increased instrument damage. 


After considering all of these factors, the Building Cabinet’s strong recommendation is to reclaim both leased pre-k classrooms for 2017-18.  Not leasing the two classrooms would allow for the grade level classes to remain together, provide continued opportunities for inclusion, allows the two kindergarten classes to return to the classroom spaces designed specifically for kindergarten, and permits art and band to remain in classrooms customized for the specialized instruction in those rooms. 


Victory Childcare is amenable to the district reclaiming both classrooms for 2017-18 but is concerned about the ability to re-establish a program in that building while obligated to lease those spaces again in 2018-19.  Looking ahead at projected enrollments for 2018-19, the district may have a need for one additional classroom section with three sections at the upper limit of the district’s class size guidelines. What is amenable to Victory Childcare is to relieve them of their obligation to lease classroom space at Altamont for 2018-19 but allow them the right to “opt in” should leasing classroom space be mutually beneficial to both the pre-k provider and the district.  This approach appears to provide the best resolution for adopting the recommendation of Building Cabinet and to preserve opportunities for both the district and Victory Childcare to address potential needs in the 2018-19 school year.