Phillips Avenue Elementary School principal Debra Rodgers talks to local officials and fourth grade students about the district's first in-school food pantry last year. Photo: Katie Blasl

Forty-three students have elected to transfer to Aquebogue Elementary School as a result of the school choice option provided by state law to students at Phillips and Roanoke Avenue schools this year, which were designated as “focus schools” following last year’s assessment test scores.

There will be an additional second grade class at Aquebogue to accommodate transfers, Superintendent Nancy Carney said today.

Carney said current grade and class numbers at Aquebogue as of today are as follows, including all transfers:

Grade 1- 89 students for four sections (11 transfers: 6 from Phillips, 5 from Roanoke ) 22-23 per class

Grade 2 – 107 students for five sections (8 transfers: 3 from Phillips, 5 from Roanoke) 21-22 per class

Grade 3 – 87 students for four sections (7 transfers: 5 from Phillips, 2 from Roanoke) 21-22 per class

Grade 4 – 102 students for four sections (5 transfers: 3 from Phillips, 2 from Roanoke) 25-26 per class

Kindergarten – 88 students for four sections (12 transfers: 3 from Phillips, 9 from Roanoke) 22 per class

“Class sizes are all under contractual limits and comparable to the rest of the buildings,” Carney said.

Roanoke Avenue, Phillips Avenue and Riley Avenue elementary schools have all been designated “focus school” by the State Education Department because one or more sub-groups of students in each building did not met state proficiency standards on assessment tests last year.

The state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides students at focus schools that are also “Title I” schools — schools that receive Title I funding due to a high population of economically disadvantaged students — with the right to transfer to a non-focus school in the same district.  See prior story. Riley Avenue does not receive Title I funding, so students there were not given the option to transfer.

Aquebogue Elementary School was the only school in the Riverhead Central School District that was not designated a focus school. Pulaski Street School, Riverhead Middle School and Riverhead High School were also designated focus schools, but there are no transfer options available, so there is no option to transfer.

Though the designation came in February, the district provided parents of Phillips and Roanoke Avenue with the 14-day minimum notice required by law, which drew strong criticism from parents at last week’s school board meeting. The deadline for parents to notify the district of their election to transfer was Friday.

April Pokorny contributed reporting.

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