Ron LeeAug 9, 2017, 1:00 pmAug 11, 2017, 7:45 am

Massapequa School Board authorizes lawsuit over 6th grade reconfiguration

State education commissioner refuses to allow district to cancel plan to integrate students into Alfred G. Berner Middle School

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Despite some outbursts from parents and residents who were asking to be heard, the Massapequa School Board did not take any public comments Tuesday night as the board authorized to take legal action that could leave incoming sixth graders in a state of limbo.

The lawsuit is in connection with a decision last week by State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, which refused to allow the district to cancel long-standing plans to integrate sixth graders into Alfred G. Berner Middle School in time for the start of upcoming school year, which begins Sept. 6.

"I would like to see this town return to its normal sanity. This town has lost its mind and gone out of control. There's a lot of fighting, the community is torn apart, and I really just want to see it come together," said parent Alyssa Polansky, who supported the vote last month by the school board to reverse its decision.

The vote came in the wake of Brian Butler's recent election to the board after he had campaigned against the reconfiguration.

"They don't get a lot of added benefits. The only thing they get is extracurricular, which is drama club and a couple of sports. And because of that, they're losing recess or losing play time, they're losing a lot of the other amenities that they have at the elementary setting, which is a nurturing, good environment for the children," Polansky added.

On the other hand, many taxpayers believe the sixth graders should move to the middle school as planned.

"My kids are almost out of the school system. The money has been spent to reconfigure the schools. I feel like we should go ahead with the move. The kids are ready to go, they graduated from fifth grade. I'm a sixth grade teacher in Dix Hills and I really feel that they should go. They should go. The money's been spent. The decision's been made." said parent Christina Drake.

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