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Some school boundaries may be changed

Board to consider options for 'grey areas'
by Stacey Colwell

 COUNTY - A South Shore Regional School Board committee has made recommendations to clear up the grey pockets in a handful of school boundary areas.

 "It should be made quite clear we are not doing this for convenience of bus routes," said board member Karen Reinhardt during a recent meeting.

 "We're talking about catchment areas of schools, which is a different proposition than just bus routes."

 Director of operations Barry Butler said busing is just one consideration.

 "We don't want to transport students any farther than we have to, but we don't want to split communities. We want students to attend school in the communities where they live. There are a number of different considerations there.

 "The enrolments of the schools was certainly a consideration, too. For instance, if we had all the students in [one of the areas in question] attend Park View, that might have an adverse affect on enrolment at New Germany."

 The finance and operations committee has proposed:

 - All new elementary students in the Lacey Mines Road area attend Chester District Elementary School and not have the option of choosing between that school and Gold River-Western Shore Elementary School.

 - All new elementary students in the Meldrum Avenue area attend Bridgewater Elementary, and not have the choice of choosing between that school, Hebbville Academy or Pentz Elementary.

 - The removal of a grey area in the Pine Grove and Lower Branch areas which allows senior high school students to choose between Park View and New Germany. All future students would attend New Germany.

 If the changes are adopted, elementary students would be expected to attend the family of schools associated with their new ones in future.

 "For example, if they went to Bridgewater Elementary, they would continue on to Bridgewater Junior/Senior High," said board member Max Rafuse.

 He also noted students may apply for school transfers regardless.

 "But we would not be providing busing."

 However, students currently enrolled would be grandfathered to allow them to continue at their existing schools.

 "Siblings would not have grandfathered protection," said Mr. Butler.

 "Just the current students."

 The board has deferred the matter until after public meetings are held in the affected areas early in the 2010-11 school year.

 "What we really need to do is get out and talk to the public who will be affected by these changes and get input there before a final decision is made," said board chairman Elliott Payzant.

posted on 07/13/10
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