Allen Parents Favor New Plymouth-Canton Redistricting Option
Parents from elementary school support new option that would spare Allen families from changes with new district boundary changes.
The option was the fourth scenario presented by the district as part of a process to realign elementary boundaries after Fiegel Elementary closes this year. School board members voted to close Fiegel but spared Gallimore Elementary, a second school that had faced the chopping block, in March. The board is expected to vote on a plan at its April 24 meeting.
At the Thursday forum, held at Discovery Middle School and attended by about 75 parents, details of the new option were unveiled. While Allen families will remain unaffected under the scenario, the plan affects other elementary buildings in the district.
With the fourth scenario, which could be adopted along with one of the three existing plans, current Fiegel students displaced by its closure will be sent to three, rather than two elementary schools, with 24 students headed to Allen, 92 to Eriksson and 162 to Hulsing.
Several Allen parents took the lectern at the forum to convince board members to seriously consider the fourth option.
Julie Boerner, a parent of a second-grader at Allen, urged the district to keep the fourth option, but said she believes that decisions need to be made on facts, logic and equality, not emotions.
Mike Fisher thanked the district for “recognizing Allen was disproportionately affected,” and said the fourth option would keep Allen families intact.
Catherine McClain, a Fiegel parent, criticized the complaints about boundary changes after some parents had threatened to pull their students from the district if a plan that favored their school wasn't adopted.
“I don’t have a choice,” she said. “My child’s school is closing. I didn’t get what I wanted, and that’s for Fiegel to stay open.”
A look at redistricting options
Option No. 2
Option No. 2 (an Option No. 1 wasn't presented to the board), makes minimal changes to the Eriksson Elementary boundaries, no changes to Field, Bentley, Hoben, Dodson, Workman, Miller and Farrand elementary schools, relieves overcrowding at Bird, Smith and Isbister, offers more contiguous school boundaries and moves most of the district's displaced students to buildings closer to their homes.
However, Option No. 2 makes significant changes to the Allen, Bird, Smith and Isbister elementary boundaries and leaves more than 20 empty classrooms throughout the district.
Option No. 3
Option No. 3's changes mostly affect the northern portion of the district. The revised map, makes minimal changes to the Eriksson boundary and no changes to Field, Bentley, Hoben, Dodson, Workman, Miller, Gallimore and Farrand's boundaries, relieves overcrowding at Smith and Isbister, offers contiguous boundaries and leaves room for expansion of the district's talented and gifted (TAG) program and Young Fives and preschool options.
This plan, however, would leave Bird Elementary with portable classrooms to accommodate students, offer "art on a cart" with no dedicated art classroom space and will leave 26 empty classrooms throughout the district.
Option No. 4
The district's third option, Option No. 4, also makes minimal changes to the Eriksson boundary and no changes to Field, Bentley, Hoben, Dodson, Workman, Miller, Gallimore, Farrand, Bird, Smith and Isbister's boundaries, and a majority of displaced students will attend schools closer to their homes. The program also offers room for expanding TAG and offering Young Fives at Gallimore or Hoben and leaves room for preschool in the district.
Option No. 4 leaves both Bird and Smith elementaries with portable classrooms, art on a cart and 19 empty classrooms throughout the district.
4.10.12 Option No. 1
The fourth plan presented to the board, 4.10.12 Option No. 1, addresses boundary concerns for Allen, Fiegel and Hulsing and spares existing Allen families from the effects of the boundary changes. However, teacher numbers also would remain the same with 26 incoming Fiegel students, which could boost class sizes.
Under this scenario, Fiegel students will be sent to three elementary schools, rather than two, with 24 headed to Allen, 92 to Eriksson and 162 to Hulsing. Hulsing's classroom count would increase by two, possibly increasing staffing needs and transportation times increase both for Fiegel students headed to Hulsing and existing Allen students.
Board to vote April 24
The board meets at 7 p.m. April 24 at Discovery Middle School, where it is expected to vote on a plan.
Editor's note: A passage in an earlier version of this story indicating Allen Elementary parents had threatened to pull students from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools has been disputed, and the specific reference to Allen parents from that passage has been removed as of 10:30 a.m. A clarification also was added to the story at 12:30 p.m. to indicate that 4.10.12 Option No. 1 is an ancilliary option that would be adopted with one of the three existing plans. Readers had indicated that fact wasn't clear in an earlier version of the story.