Modified boundary plan to be presented to school board

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The South-Western City Schools community has decided where they would like the boundary lines that determine student enrollment at the middle level to be drawn. Now, it will be up to the board of education to either accept or reject their recommendation.

Late last year, the community was presented with two proposals that called for modifications to the existing middle school boundary lines. District officials said at the time the action was needed in order to stabilize current and projected numbers at that level, in particular at Pleasant View Middle School.

According to Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jamie Lusher, there are currently 910 students enrolled at Pleasant View, making it the district’s most populated middle school by more than 300 students.

She said at the first boundary meeting held in December that either one of the alternative options presented would bring the enrollment numbers down to a sustainable level, especially as it is set to open its doors next year at a new location.

“Our buildings are meant to sustain about 800 students,” Lusher said at the meeting, “so currently Pleasant View is well over what we would anticipate our enrollment to be to maintain the integrity of the way the buildings were constructed.”

In one option that was presented for community consideration, the boundary lines that made up the new Beulah Park Middle School would have absorbed much of Pleasant View’s rural boundary while Norton Middle School would have absorbed smaller pockets around Northforty Drive. The district estimated 126 students at Pleasant View would be redistributed over to Beulah Park while 38 would be redistributed over to Norton under that proposal.

In the second option that was presented for community consideration, the existing boundary lines for Pleasant View would stay mostly intact but it would lose central locations around Alton Hall to Norton Middle and northern boundaries near Demorest and Holt roads to Beulah Park Middle. The district estimated 121 students at Pleasant View would be redistributed over to Beulah Park while 18 would be redistributed over to Norton under that proposal.

For weeks, the community mulled these options and provided the district with their feedback. The most common request asked that they make modifications to the modifications. The district said they did just that.

At a virtual meeting held on Jan. 11, the district unveiled a new boundary line option that consisted of elements in both of the boundary line proposals. While much of the finished product was a result of the majority vote in favor of the second option from above, there are elements in the first option incorporated throughout.

“What I would say about these results though is that it was option two or option one and then almost entirely all of these responses had some type of qualitative feedback in the form of a comment,” said Lusher.

She added those comments are what made the district take a second look at the maps in order to “clean up some geographical boundary areas.”

In this third – and likely final – option, much of Pleasant View’s existing boundary is kept intact but it does lose its central region (such as the areas around Darby Creek Drive down to Henshaw Lane and out to Alton Hall and Northforty Drive) to Norton Middle. It will also lose some of its eastern boundary around the Autumn Grove neighborhood to Beulah Park.

“Tanglebrook and Autumn Grove are really almost kind of one neighborhood and they have historically been split between Pleasant View and Brookpark,” said Robert Kramer, a data analyst with the district. “We thought that was something we could very easily correct and put them into the same middle school boundary.”

According to the district, 132 students at Pleasant View would potentially be redistributed over to Beulah Park while 56 students would be redistributed over to Norton Middle under this proposal.

An additional change in this proposal that was not in either option presented in December was that Jackson Middle School would absorb some of the eastern boundary of Beulah Park near Cabin Road, Lamplighter Drive, Jackson Pike and White Road.

Kramer said only a handful of students would be impacted by this change. Lusher added it was implemented to make transportation more efficient for some of the students who live in that area.

With the community largely in favor of this somewhat blended option, Lusher said it will be presented to the board at its retreat on Feb. 12. They can either make their own recommendations or approve the proposal as is.

To see the latest middle school boundary line recommendation, visit the district’s website at swcsd.us.

 

 

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