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No room for neighborhood schools in new attendance plans PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 14:07

District aims to have equal number of students at elementary schools

    The traditional policy of having Grafton elementary students attend the schools closest to their homes would end under a plan to redraw attendance borders for Woodview and Kennedy elementary schools.
    The School District is faced with having to reassign students to schools because of a $39.9 million school improvement plan approved by voters in April that calls for the demolition of Grafton Elementary School and the expansion of Woodview and Kennedy.
    Current Grafton Elementary School students will be assigned to other schools for the 2018-19 school year, but other elementary school students may also be affected. There is no guarantee, Supt. Jeff Nelson said during the June 22 School Board meeting, that a student who attends Woodview during the 2017-18 school year won’t be reassigned to Kennedy Elementary School the following year.
    “There are students living on the same street but they’ll be going to different schools. We won’t have community schools now,” Nelson said. “It’s not because we didn’t want them to go to the same school, it’s because there isn’t anymore room in that grade level.”
    The challenge for the district is balancing the number of students between the two schools.
    The district and its busing provider, Riteway, have drafted two redistricting options. The previous plan from last month’s meeting was taken out of consideration.
    “At our last meeting we discussed option A, where we tried to keep a similar boundary, but it made our numbers very large, which brought Woodview to 513 students and Kennedy at 392,” Nelson said. “So option A is not a good option.”
    The latest plan for options B and C has a more balanced number of students for the two schools. Both attendance maps use Washington Street as the north-to-south border with Woodview to the north and Kennedy to the south.  
    Both options take into account current enrollment numbers. Under option B, Kennedy would have 462 students and Woodview would be at 443. In option C, Kennedy attendance would total 455 students and Woodview would reach 450.
    The two options presented will slightly  increase the cost of busing to approximately $124 per day, which would add up to an additional $22,000 a year.
    During the meeting’s public comment opportunity, concerns were expressed about grandfathering students at their current elementary school.
    “As it is currently, we cannot try and say, ‘How can we get this kid who lives up here to go down there?’” Nelson said. “There are more layers that go with it.”
    Nelson also said that open enrollment students are not taken into account with the current plans.
    “That’s a secondary issue for us to decide after we figure out our boundaries,” he said.
    Nelson has consulted with the village and town planners to estimate the future growth and lot inventory.
    “We didn’t want to create something in advance that we know has a lot of lots available for purchase or for building and that would create inequity for us,” he said.
    The district plans to have the attendance boundaries set by next school year.

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