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Oxford School District holds final public meeting to build new school

The Oxford School District held its third and final meeting regarding a bond referendum to build a new elementary school. The bond is set to be proposed to the town in September or October.

“No decisions have been made,” Brian Harvey, the OSD superintendent, reminded the room at the beginning of the public meeting on Monday night. He also mentioned that the board looked at eight to nine properties and ranked them on preference.

“The property that came up the best and most cost effective to build on was the site of what used to be known as Central Elementary. Everything else was a tremendous cost.”

The old Central property is located on the corner of North Fifth Street and Washington Avenue. The Scott Center, another property in question, lies next to it.

According to the conceptual plans, presented by architect Taylor Guild, the new elementary school would have 32 regular classrooms along with rooms for art, science and a gymnasium with a stage. The estimated cost of construction would be $14 million.

Harvey explained that the Scott Center, a facility for students with severe or profound disabilities, may also be taken down to make space for the new elementary school. The center also provides services for students outside of the district.

According to the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), these students are to be educated in their least restrictive environments with their age appropriate peers.

“Over the course of the last three months, we have had meetings with those parents who have students enrolled in our district,” Harvey further explained. “The level of service is going to be maintained, that is not going to change. However, where we provide the service for some of those children will change.”

The superintendent said that 20 to 25 students have already been transitioned into classes with their peers.

“We believe that is better for the students who have disabilities and it is also better for the students who are not disabled,” Harvey said. “We have communicated that with our parents. I have not had any complaints or meetings with a parent of a student who attended the Scott Center and is now attending another school.”

At their last monthly meeting, the board voted to put up the Oxford Elementary property for sale.

“Oxford Elementary isn’t big enough for two grades,” Harvey said. “It’s the driving force for a bond referendum for a new school. It is a problem and it is going to continue to be a problem until we address it.”

The public is still encouraged to leave suggestions for the board, as well as see their data and presentations on a site designed for the referendum: https://www.oxfordsd.org/bondref.