board members got their first look Tuesday night at possible scenarios that will be used in redrawing school boundaries for the 2012-13 school year.
Todd Colvin, associate superintendent for administrative services, presented the board with four possible methods officials could use to redraw the boundaries in the ever-growing district. He also outlined boundary criteria and a timeline for implementation.
The district is in the fourth year of its current boundaries, and based on recent enrollment studies, a number of schools will soon be at or over capacity, Colvin said.
The elementary schools with the biggest overcrowding problems are , Homestead, Lakewood Creek, The Wheatlands and Wolf’s Crossing.
Colvin said Bednarcik Junior High will be 300 students over capacity next year, and Traughber Junior High is also overcrowded. He recommended that the new Murphy Junior High in Plainfield open its doors next year to ease junior high overcrowding.
Board Member Mike Scaramuzzi said the Murphy decision can’t be made lightly, as associated costs of running the new school also need to be nailed down.
The method of determining new boundaries was the focus of Colvin’s presentation, and he gave the board four options that could be used.
- Use a small group (10-12) of mostly district staff to develop the new boundaries.
- Use a mid-size group (20-25) with community representation to create enrollment and boundary changes. Community representatives would be chosen through an application process on a geographical basis. This group would conduct community forums to gather parent feedback.
- Use a large group to brainstorm boundaries. This group would be separated into small groups that also would conduct community forums.
- The final option was to use the district’s enrollment study company, RSP and Associates, to create the boundaries. Colvin said community feedback would also be an important part of that scenario, and forums would be held. This option would cost the district an estimated $25,000, and Colvin said the advantage would be that RSP has an intimate knowledge of the district’s enrollment needs and future.
Whichever method is used, Colvin said district staff will have to work through a large amount of data before presenting it to committees, so that they can make recommendations back to the board.
“In the end, you’re the one’s that will have to live with this,” Colvin told the board. “… This gets to be a very emotional issue The phone’s going to ring (with people saying) ‘I can’t believe you’re moving me.’”
The criteria used to draw the new boundaries will include factors like geographic proximity, continuity of the educational experience, best use of school facilities and logistical concerns. Colvin also said the effort should recognize district-wide needs, the continued growth in the district and be useful to the district for as long as possible.
Colvin said the board will need to determine the redistricting method they will use this month. The bulk of the reboundary work will be completed from November to January, and the community forums would begin in February. By March, the new boundaries would be communicated to the community.
To view the entire presentation from Tuesday, click here.