Friday, April 18th, 2014

Reynoldsburg continues to look at redistricting options

Reynoldsburg is considering the logistics and emotions involved in redistricting a school system with the addition of two new buildings.
Summit Road Elementary and Reynoldsburg High School: Summit Road Complex are scheduled to open at the start of the 2011-2012 school year.
Superintendent Steve Dackin said a committee of approximately two dozen community members was commissioned to gather information, solicit comments and help formulate a redistricting plan incorporating the new buildings into a mix that currently includes five other elementary schools, two middle schools, a pair of junior highs, and the Livingston Avenue high school.
“The redistricting planning committees first meeting was Sept. 21, committee Co-Chairman Scott Smith said.We approved a timeline and reviewed hard data on housing enrollment, state data, and demographic trends. Were looking for a consensus from the people and constructive feedback.
Fellow Co-Chairman Loretta King reported community members were given the opportunity to participate in small group dialogs during the first public meeting. She hopes changing the time of the next public event will enable more people to provide their input.
Community Outreach Coordinator Tricia Moore said the district is mulling over raw data in a report from the first community meeting.
“The committee looked at criteria that emerged and prioritized it, said Moore,which will guide the committee.
According to Moore, the list included:
• support for keeping the current configuration,
• a preference for lower class sizes at the lower grade levels,
• stressing the importance of neighborhood schools,
• capacity,
• socio-economic balance,
• a desire to keep subdivision students together, and
• transportation times under 30 minutes.
“Twenty-five percent of parents responded in having their school of choice at the elementary level, Moore said.Whenever possible, they said students should be allowed to stay in their current school during their last year (in the building) or if they have a sibling in that school.
Smith said the group plans to finalize their report in December, after a public meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Waggoner Road Junior High. The group will then present its findings in January.
Dackin said the meeting will feature several boundary proposals and participants will be asked for their opinions on each option.
In preparation for the high school split, the two schools will be organized into interest-based academies, designed to personalize student learning in order to prepare them for careers, college and life after high school.
All high school students will choose from among four programs based on their current career and college interests. Unlike the re-districting plan, a straw poll of students was taken this fall to determine the interest in the quartet of academies in order to determine their locations.
“What were planning right now—based on the straw poll—is to locate the Business, Education, Leadership and Law Academy and the Health Science & Human Service Academy at the Livingston Avenue high school. The Arts, Communication and Design Academy and eSTEM Academy would be housed at the Summit Road building.

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