Dozens of parents and teachers crowded into the Red Lion School Board meeting Thursday night to address the board with their concerns about a perceived lack of communication.
Of those in attendance, more than a dozen spoke during the nearly hour-long public comment portion of the meeting, some fighting back tears.
At issue was the district's decision to shuffle elementary school principals at all seven of its elementary schools and funnel all full-day kindergarten students to one school, Windsor Manor Elementary.
Currently, half-day kindergarten is offered at all seven elementary schools, and full-day is offered at five of them. Full-day kindergarten is offered to the 80 students who score lowest on the kindergarten admission test and are deemed to be at-risk.
But changes in enrollment at Windsor Manor for 2013-14, combined with staff retirements at that school, meant that in the 2013-14 school year the building, which currently has nine classes, would go "one deep," Superintendent Scott Deisley said.
He explained that meant that there would be only one class per grade, forcing students to be with the same classmates for their entire elementary school career. It would also deny them inter-classroom and specialized instruction by expert teachers in subjects, an option that is possible at schools with more than one teacher per grade.
The change: Because of that, the district has decided to make Windsor Manor Elementary the school for all the full-day kindergarten classes in 2013-2014.
In 2014-2015, the school would have 80 full-day kindergarten students and 80 first-grade students the 80 students admitted into the full-day kindergarten program in 2013-2014 for a total of 160 students.
Several parents asked why full-day kindergarten isn't an option for all students at all elementary schools.
Deisley said that, in order to offer full-day kindergarten across the district, he would have to hire at least eight additional teachers, something the district is not financially able to do.
In addition to the kindergarten changes, parents were distraught about the changes in elementary school principals.
The timing: Of the 15 parents who addressed the board, only one was supportive; the rest questioned why they learned March 12 that the changes were coming.
Deisley explained that notices of retirement and requests for transfers weren't due to the district until March 1, meaning the district didn't have a clear idea of who was retiring and what its needs would be until after that.
"About 25 (staff) are moving voluntarily. About five are moving involuntarily," he said.
The changes, which affect all seven elementary schools and leave no current principal in the same school he or she currently heads, are based on enrollment needs, personal preferences and skill sets, Deisley said.
Who's going where:
---Cindy Williams is retiring from Pleasant View.
---Susan Dunham is retiring from Mazie Gable.
---Abby Gold, an elementary reading specialist and district content specialist, will become principal at North Hopewell-Winterstown.
---Amy Glusco, a curriculum supervisor, will become principal at Larry J. Macaluso.
---Sheila Hughes, who is joining Red Lion from outside the district, will become principal at Clearview.
---Elizabeth Stambaugh, principal at Windsor Manor, will become principal at Pleasant View.
---Norina Bentzel, principal at North Hopewell-Winterstown, will become principal at Locust Grove.
---Todd McClimans, principal at Clearview, will become principal at Mazie Gable.
---Kitty Reinholt, principal at Larry J. Macaluso, will become principal at Windsor Manor.
-- Reach Lauren McLane at email@example.com.