Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 10:46
After listening to both concerns and support, the Bowling Green Board of Education unanimously voted on new elementary district boundaries for 2013-14.
|Brian Whitta explains the new school district proposal during a meeting held Tuesday evening at Crim Elementary. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The vote came at a special meeting Tuesday after the board was blasted at its meeting last Tuesday with complaints on how the suggested change was handled.
The redistricting move is the latest in a long list of closings, expansions and the moving of students to save money.
The boundaries approved Tuesday had one change from the plan presented last week: What used to be just a dip through Cogan's Crossing going from Conneaut to Crim, the district has moved the Crim attendance area from Bishop Road to the south, Brim Road to the west, and going all the way north to the district's boundaries on Cross Creek Road.
Going to three elementaries opens up a number of opportunities, including balancing student numbers at the elementaries, increasing bus route efficiency, creating contiguous attendance areas and allowing room at schools for future growth in population, said Superintendent Ann McVey.
The key considerations for the new district boundaries included the distribution of the student population, the number of existing classrooms, and the longevity of this plan.
"We need to get this right," McVey stated.
Brian Whitta, director of transportation, showed how enrollment numbers in each of the district's remaining three elementaries would be impacted with the new boundaries, brought on by the closing of Ridge Elementary this month.
If the district had put all of Ridge students at Crim, which is what many residents had assumed would happen, enrollment numbers at the schools would have been 504 at Conneaut, 424 at Kenwood, and 393 at Crim.
With the new plan, 470 students would attend Conneaut, 443 at Kenwood, and 458 at Crim.
The bump in students at Kenwood comes from former Milton students in the Rudolph, Custar and Milton Center areas that were moved to Conneaut in 2006 who will now go the Kenwood.
As part of its cost-savings measures in the past, the district closed South Main Elementary in 2005, and Milton Elementary in 2011. Also in 2011, the district moved sixth-graders to the middle school, moved central offices to a Clough Street site, and sold three buildings and its property on Mitchell Road.
All "in response to a shrinking budget from the state," said McVey.
This year, the expansion of Crim Elementary was completed, allowing the district to move preschool classes to the school from a leased location. That move saves the district $40,000 a year. Also this year, Ridge is closing.
|Approved district boundaries for Bowling Green elementaries
Sara Pisarski, who will graduate this month and enter the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, said she attended three Bowling Green elementaries.
"Kids can adapt," she stated. "It's not where you go to elementary school, it's the education you get from the school district."
One parent who lives on Union Hill Road, has a second-grader at Conneaut and said her son will now go to Crim, which she didn't understand in that it's the farthest school from her home.
McVey said administrators had looked at all options, trying to keep neighborhoods together.
"This is the option that gives us the most (equity in student numbers)," she said.
The changes also make transportation more efficient, she said, and added that the district does offer open enrollment options to keep children in the school of choice.
"If it means keeping him in the same school, that's what I'll do," the woman stated.
Heather Sayler, of Cogan's Crossing, told the board the information provided made the changes an "easier pill to swallow," and that administrators should have explained this months ago.
She asked of the district's future plans on redistricting.
"We are very hopeful this will not happen again soon," McVey replied.
Population growth will be the bottom line of any future decisions, she added.
She said she based her decision on rushing this decision on the positive feedback the district got when it closed Milton with only a month's notice. She said she also moved quickly on this decision thinking it would be best for students.
She explained the housing north of Cogan's Crossing was added to the Crim district to be sure there was enough space at Conneaut to allow for open enrollment requests.
Fifth-graders at all elementaries will be given first priority, she stated.
She said 147 open enrollment requests were approved this school year, and some have said they will return to their "home" school.
Of the approximately 60 students potentially applying for open enrollment - those being bumped from Conneaut to Crim with the new alignments - she indicated the school could handle that number.
The map showing the approved elementary district can be seen on the school district's Web page, www.bgcs.k12.oh.us/, as are the intradistrict transfer forms for open enrollment requests. Requests are due June 10.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 15:06