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Plymouth-Canton Presents New Redistricting Options

After last week's board vote to save Gallimore elementary, district weight new redistricting options.

One week after the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education by the district that included closing , administrators presented a new set of options for board members to consider during a meeting Tuesday at .

The board had voted March 27 to close in an effort to make best use of the district's available classrooms and save money, but spared Gallimore. Included with that proposal was a set of redrawn district boundaries reflecting the closure of both schools.

With half of that proposal voted down, it was back to the drawing board for administrators to find a map reflecting Fiegel's closure, but with Gallimore remaining open.

Board members are expected to vote on a plan by April 24. Superintendent Jeremy Hughes said the district is already past a deadline it set to put a new redistricting map in place, but he and administrators will work quickly to implement whatever plan the board adopts in time for the 2012-13 school year.

Phil Freeman, the district's assistant superintendent of facilities and operations, said administrators looked at criteria such as student enrollment in each school building and examined neighborhood blocks to determine how many students lived in each area. From this information, they created three options for the board's consideration.

Option No. 2

Freeman said the first option for the board to consider, Option No. 2 (an Option No. 1 wasn't presented to the board), makes minimal changes to the Elementary boundaries, no changes to , Bentley, , Dodson, , Miller and elementary schools, relieves overcrowding at , Smith and , offers more contiguous school boundaries and moves most of the district's displaced students to buildings closer to their homes.

On the downside, Freeman said, Option No. 2 makes significant changes to the , Bird, and Isbister elementary boundaries and leaves more than 20 empty classrooms throughout the district.

Option No. 3

Freeman said Option No. 3's changes mostly affect the northern portion of the district. The revised map, he said, makes minimal changes to the Eriksson boundary and no changes to Field, , Hoben, , Workman, , 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.

Board looks for long-range options

Board member Sheila Paton said while she is glad that several areas will move together with the new maps, she is concerned about the space issues affecting Bird Elementary.

"I'm looking toward the options where we're easing that and we need to take a look at a longer-term option," she said.

Board members saw the proposed maps for the first time Tuesday, but had an opportunity to view the options in advance of the meeting.

Board faces tight deadline in busy April

The board agreed to an April 19 public hearing to allow input from the community about the proposed redistricting maps. The hearing comes during a busy month for the district that is shortened because of next week's spring break. The board already has special meetings planned Thursday to discuss the district's budget and April 17 to discuss the , as well as regular meetings April 24, when the redistricting vote is expected, and April 30.

DG April 11, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Option 2 is not what is illogical and contorted here.
Jennifer April 13, 2012 at 05:20 PM
DownUpside1: Fiegel had some wonderful parents that helped out but two years ago when rumors of Fiegel was closing they gave up. They lost a lot of kids and parents, most went to academies. The district played a big part in making it difficult for parents and the next school that is rumored to close will go through the same stuff.
mom0717 April 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Nancy, I can't believe I did this but I actually drove the route. My husband thinks I'm crazy. I found that Gallimore is 3.2 miles from the SE portion of the block moving from Smith and Dodson is 3.4 miles. As you move further north and west, Dodson becomes further and a less likely option, not to mention the fact that the traffic southbound on Beck crossing Ford in the morning would add a great deal of time on the bus. Isbister and Workman are indeed slightly closer but as you said, both are full and you wouldn't want us moving to another "north" school anyway. Tonda is full of walkers and they maximized them to the extent possible and then brought in the next closest neighborhoods. As I said before, our kids would love to stay at Smith if possible. However if that is not the case then moving our kids as a group to Gallimore becomes the next best option. There's room so it shouldn't really be a problem. I think the TAG parents in the SW portion of the district will be happy to have their kids closer to home. They are a part of our district too.
Maddiex April 17, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The idea of expanding the TAG program and adding the Young 5's program is to generate revenue by drawing kids back to the district that are currently attending charters and private schools. Many people leave the district because they are interested in the TAG program, but the district doesn't have enough spots. They say this during the April 4th meeting.
John McKay March 07, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Maddiex, Frank's comment, I believe, was posted a year ago. I had restored some old comments last night that had been wrongly rejected and didn't realize it would give it a timestamp of today.

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