The Juneau School Board has approved Superintendent Gary Bader's plan for reassigning programs from the Marie Drake building to Harborview Elementary School.
The reorganization is necessary to accommodate elementary-level programs currently housed in Marie Drake that will be displaced while Juneau-Douglas High School is renovated.
The Marie Drake building sits between Harborview and JDHS, and has been used by both schools. The high school will use nearly all of Marie Drake during the multi-year renovation.
Under Bader's plan, school district offices in Harborview's basement will be consolidated and the Montessori program will move to Room 22 in the basement. Two Harborview classrooms will be split into four small rooms, and a special education preschool program will be moved off-site.
Montessori parents and staff expressed reservations at Tuesday's School Board meeting about Room 22's basement location and the lack of room for expansion.
"The two biggest concerns I have are seeing if there are opportunities for not having the kids in the basement full time and also looking at long-term space needs," said Deb Erickson, parent of two Montessori students.
Erickson suggested moving the RALLY room to the basement and placing Montessori in that second-floor space. RALLY is a before- and after-school day care program.
Bader said the layout of the RALLY room did not seem to be compatible with housing Montessori's two separate classrooms.
"I don't have my heels dug in about the RALLY room, but I look at it and I don't see it converting to two classrooms without significant expenditure of funds," he said.
Board member Stan Ridgeway said the plan seemed to be as good as possible under the circumstances. "I know it's not the optimum, but I think it's the best we can do."
Montessori teacher Chris Trostel said the program will accept Room 22 as better than moving off-site.
"We're very happy to be at Harborview," she said. "We'll make this work, and we'll do it willingly and happily."
Bader said any moving and renovation work at Harborview that can be done during the school year will be started as soon as possible. The remainder of the work will be completed next summer.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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