Sara Swanson

Future of Ackerson Building Uncertain

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Manchester Co-op Preschool students investigating the raised garden beds outside of the Ackerson building.

Manchester Co-op Preschool students investigating the raised garden beds outside of the Ackerson building.

The future of the Nellie Ackerson building remains uncertain after the most recent school board meeting held last Monday. Although the board heard the recommendation of the Building Configuration Committee to close the Ackerson building in April, it has been unable to come to a decision on the recommendation at any of the intervening board meetings. Superintendent Cherie Vannatter stated, “There was no decision made.  We will continue the conversation in June.”

While the committee made the recommendation to move the School District’s Central offices and the district’s pre-K programs out of Ackerson and into other school buildings, it did not make a recommendation on what to do with the non-Manchester Community School programs who rent space in Ackerson–the Community Resource Center and food pantry, and the Manchester Co-op Preschool. Closing the building completely would mean those programs would need to relocate.

While the decision is still being made, the school district offered 1-year leases to the two organizations last week. Vannatter stated, “I know the board is committed to working with the community and the groups that are located in our buildings.”

Laura Seyfried, director of the Community Resource Center said, “We are very pleased to have just signed a new 1-year lease with the school district to stay in our current location. Our partnership with the Manchester Community Schools allows us to continue to serve community members at our centrally-located, accessible site.”

The Manchester Co-op Preschool is also signing the new lease. Sarah Andrews, Co-op Preschool president stated, “We have been presented with a lease for the 2016/2017 school year as well as for the summer of 2016. At this time no changes have been made and I will be signing and returning the lease next week. Earlier this year, we asked the district to give us ample time to make other arrangements for our Co-op. We were told that we would not be asked to leave and this has held true.”

When asked what the Co-op Preschool would do if the board decided to close Ackerson, Andrews responded, “If Ackerson were to close we would do everything in our power to continue the 51 years of cooperative education our preschool has offered to this community.”

The Co-op Preschool is once again offering a summer program in the Ackerson building. It begins June 20th and accord to Andrews, “is filling fast.” The program is offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 am to 2:30 pm and is $15/day per child. She stated, “It is an incredible program for our community and we look forward to meeting new families and welcoming back current students!!”

In the fall, the preschool will offer the same programs as they did this year: Tuesday/Thursday 3/4 year-old preschool from 8:30-11:45 am that is geared towards social and emotional development and a Monday/Wednesday/Friday class from 8:30 am-2:45 pm with a curriculum geared towards students who will be attending kindergarten the following fall. Anyone interested in registering for summer or fall can contact the teachers at manchestercp123@gmail.com.

Both the leases signed by the CRC and Co-op Preschool contain clauses that they can be broken by either party with 30 days notice.

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