Parents express concerns as redistricting plan is approved

Interim Superintendent Dr. William Carnes, John DeLucia (board president) and Diane Eaton (board member) listen to parents concerns.

Interim Superintendent Dr. William Carnes, John DeLucia (board president) and Diane Eaton (board member) listen to parents concerns.

By Beth Taylor

On Dec. 15, the Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) School Board voted unanimously to approve the recommended redistricting plan for grades K-8. Affecting roughly 2,600 students, the revised boundary lines will be effective for the 2015-2016 school year.

A supporting recommendation from Interim School Superintendent William Carnes allows for students in third, fifth and seventh grade to complete the next grade at their current school. Parents of the “grandfathered” students will be responsible for providing transportation.

Residents of neighborhoods that have been affected by the redrawn school boundaries had three minutes to speak to the board.

“We are fortunate to have great schools in HSE. What is difficult is change. Some neighborhoods are asked to absorb change,” said Susan Collins of the Windermere East neighborhood. She requested that the board consider allowing fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-graders to remain at Fall Creek intermediate.

“I am continuously proud of the entire HSE community. The level of partnership and engagement in the redistricting process was outstanding, over 7,000 responses. The members of the public in attendance at the board meeting last night were a part of that collection of feedback.

Redistricting is a comprehensive, challenging process. The board’s approval to ‘grandfather’ current third-, fifth- and seventh-graders is an example of HSE’s commitment to minimize the impact on students,” said Bev Smith, the director of school and community relations.

Two residents expressed gratitude to the board, recognizing how challenging redistricting is for all parties. Members of the board also spoke about their own experiences of having students affected by redistricting.

“I want to thank the community for providing a great deal of input. The feedback gleaned from the pubic sessions, coupled with technology, allowed HSE to make improvements until the recommended Preferred Redistricting Plan was released,” said Smith.

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