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January 27, 2014

Viccaro, parents to discuss new schedule tomorrow

NEWBURYPORT — Parents reacted angrily earlier this month after receiving a notice from Superintendent Susan Viccaro informing them of changes to next year’s arrival and dismissal times for the new K-3 Bresnahan School and the Nock-Molin Middle School.

In response to their concerns, the superintendent has agreed to meet with parents for a question-and-answer session tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the Nock-Molin School library.

The new Bresnahan is under construction and is set to open next fall, while the Nock-Molin is under renovation.

Parents who will have children attending those schools next year say they were caught off guard by the new schedule. They say they were never involved in the discussion and that the decision was made without any input from them.

They also said the changes will cause transportation inconveniences and will have an adverse impact on working parents and families who have more than one child in the school system.

As a reaction to the decision, a group of parents launched a Facebook page, “Port Parents,” where they encouraged a strong public turnout at last week’s regularly scheduled School Committee meeting. That meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.

A response from Mayor Donna Holaday, who chairs the School Committee, was also posted on the Facebook page and discussed the reasons for the scheduling changes. They included safety issues surrounding pickup and dropoff of students and sensitivity to the environmental and traffic-impact concerns of the surrounding neighborhood.

Parent Derek Hartford said he is hoping to get a good turnout of parents at tomorrow’s meeting with Viccaro.

“Those that cannot attend should contact the superintendent, mayor and School Committee to voice their concerns,” he said, adding that the issue isn’t likely to get resolved at Tuesday’s session, but being able to communicate in person with the superintendent is a step in the right direction.

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