School officials who had planned to move about 40 children from special education classes in Cedar Lane School to Stevens Forest Elementary this fall have instead decided to move them to Waterloo Elementary.

Educators changed plans after determining there would be problems in partitioning areas at Stevens Forest for the classes, said Associate Superintendent James R. McGowan.

Transferring the children from Cedar Lane is an effort to balancethe early childhood center at Running Brook Elementary School, whichis in Columbia and serves families living west of Route 29, with a similar center on the east side, said Sue A. Brown, special education supervisor.

"What we were trying to find was a school on the east side of Route 29 that was in Columbia," said Brown.

When Stevens Forest didn't work out, officials turned to Waterloo, which is on the east side of Route 29 and could accommodate the children but is outside Columbia.

Waterloo PTA representatives who were initially worried about overcrowding in classrooms were reassured after meeting withspecial education supervisors, reported PTA President Donna DiNoto.

The school ended 1990-1991 with approximately 355 students in a school designed for 444.

"We know it's a good program," DiNoto said."We're hoping it won't have an impact on our space."

DiNoto said she did not know whether other parents might have concerns. Because the decision was made so late in the school year, most parents are probably unaware of it, she said.

In September, school officials willmove approximately 15 infants and toddlers from Cedar Lane's Early Beginnings program and about 25 children who attend two preschool classes to Waterloo. In 1993, school officials again plan to move the Early Beginnings and preschool classes out of Waterloo to the planned northeastern elementary school or to another building where when space becomes available, Brown said.

Early Beginnings teachers usually teach at the children's homes, but parents occasionally bring their children to the school for therapy. Early Beginnings provides therapy and behavior training for children with disabilities up to age 2.

At Waterloo, the two preschool classes will be in classrooms near the kindergarten classes, Brown said.

The location will allow the children to interact with non-disabled youngsters close to their own age,but they will not share the same class space, Martha G. Sullivan pointed out in a letter to DiNoto. Sullivan retired July 1 as director of special education.

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