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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.

parents at a community forum Thursday overwhelmingly supported a new redistricting option for that would spare current Allen families from district boundary changes

The option was the fourth scenario presented by the district as part of a elementary boundaries after closes this year. School board members but spared , 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.

Under the three scenarios, Allen families face more drastic changes, as well as , and elementary schools.

At the Thursday forum, held at 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 and 162 to .

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 , Bentley, , Dodson, , Miller and 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, , Hoben, , Workman, , 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.

Dennis April 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM
If Allen get all of Fiegel's student but the Erikkson end..won't that mean more teachers at Allen? Class size is at 29, 30 in many classes now
A bystander April 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Dennis, at looking at the proposals, none of them mentioned that Allen would need more teachers. If they did, I it would be presented as a con, because of the additional expense it would take. The extra teachers for the new proposal are for more than using the extra teachers from Fiegel. For displacing the Allen students I think is all logistics and which is closer for all students. This all could have been taken care of if the Board went with closing 2 schools in the first place.
jones April 25, 2012 at 02:52 AM
So which proposal did they vote on today?
Michelle April 25, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Option 4 and Option 1 passed this evening.
Concerned parent June 15, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Well all is said and done, the Fiegel population has been disbursed and the school closed for elementary use,using thousands of dollars to update for Starkweather. There are more to come so everyone brace yourself. At some point the board will be forced to elect a sweeping redistricting involving all elementary schools. It will become a necessity - and likely at the middle school level too. No one is immune, or should be if it is what needs to be done. The balancing act needs to be handled with more fiscal responsibiltiy, and less political interference properly this year, not in January forward, so there is a rush to make a decision and keep certain parts of our school population happy, as has been done the past two years. Make the tough 5yr plan a reality and we will all have to deal with what is left, or others may opt for a different choice. It is what it is..too bad politics is taking over the needs of the students who are ultimately affected.

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