By Mark Ambrogi
Carmel Clay Schools superintendent Nicholas Wahl wanted a longer-term solution to the redistricting issue.
“One of things we wanted to stop was the cycle of every two to three years having a redistricting process that we all know is very emotional and can be very challenging,” Wahl said.
The school board unanimously approved the four redistricting recommendations on Feb. 23. Wahl said he hopes with this measure, the school district won’t have to have another redistricting plan for five years.
Wahl said the directive that CCS gave ECRA Group Inc., the consulting group, was to facilitate a three-step process that included research, developing the plan and identifying implementation steps. Input from all the stakeholders in the district, including students, parents, employees and community members, were gathered in the process. (A separate survey with ECRA about the strategic plans for the future of Carmel schools is still ongoing.)
The primary concerns were over capacity and geographic proximity. The secondary considerations were feeder system and a long-term solution. Additional considerations were grandfathering in students and transition process.
Grandfathering allows parents of rising fifth and eighth grade students to choose to have their children remain at their current school, with CCS transportation provided, for the 2015-16 school year. Grandfathering is included in all four recommendations.
The redistricting measures approved by the school board were:
1) Assign all students who attend Orchard Park Elementary School to attend Carmel Middle School. Orchard Park students currently attend Creekside Middle School. However, Carmel Middle School is the closest middle school in the boundary area.
2) Assign all students who attend Mohawk Trails Elementary to to attend Clay Middle School. Mohawk Trails students are currently split between Clay and Carmel middle schools.
3) Redistrict the 70 students who currently attend College Wood Elementary Schools to Smoky Row Elementary. At the same time redistrict the 38 students currently attending Creekside in the same area to Carmel Middle School. College Wood is over capacity with 824 enrolled in the 2014-15 school year and is expected to continue to exceed capacity through the 2019-20 school year without boundary changes. The change is projected to decrease the number of College Wood students by 70, reducing over capacity.
4) Transfer the 19 students living in the three apartment complexes in the Orchard Park boundary area that attend Woodbrook Elementary and Creekside to Orchard Park and Carmel Middle.
The parents of children affected were sent a letter outlining the procedures. Those parents who want their students, who are affected by the grandfather process, to remain at their current school are directed to respond by March 9.
“So we can know for staffing purposes, transportation and everything else,” Wahl said.
Wahl said students will concerns are encouraged to contact their building principals. Transition support will be available for students in the affected areas.