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Elementary Rezoning Criteria on Board Agenda

Posted by Alan on November 18, 2008 7:56 AM | Filed in News | Comments (9)

CrossingGuardJMullins_LG.pngThe Fayetteville Board of Education will discuss the district's current criteria on the distribution of elementary students at their regular meeting on Thursday, November 20. Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Here's a link to the current criteria, which were adopted in 2005.


Posted by Carol Gillespie on November 18, 2008 10:15 AM

Before you start moving children from their current schools because of overcrowding, you should start by making the principals make parents enroll their children in the school they are actually zoned for instead of ignoring the fact that they no longer live in the zone their children are attending. The school board said in the last rezoning that no grandfathering would be allowed because it defeated the purpose of the rezone. What happened since then? Now people who live in the school zone they wanted their children to attend are possibly going to get moved because the school is overcrowded and people are allowed to go to school there even though they are zoned somewhere else. Also, why don't you start with long range planning, beginning with the high school and they let the decisions regarding the lower grades be based in part on the high school, i.e. whether or not you plan to continue to put the 9th grade with the high school.

Posted by Anita Roberts on November 18, 2008 10:31 AM

Studies are showing that the population growth east of town is slowing and will repair itself, making a shift of Vandergriff students. You need to keep the Vandergriff boundaries as is or you'll have new problems in a few years and spend countless hours and dollars shifting it all back. I don't know of anyone in favor of the shift. Maybe you should listen to the parents.

Posted by Brandi Roach on November 18, 2008 10:36 AM

I would hope that the board will keep in mind the children (families) that were rezoned 3 years ago and grandfather those families into the school they are presently in. I agree with the previous comment on thinking "long term". It was very frustating for my family who had to change schools for the 2006-2007 school year to hear in the 2007-2008 year talks of another rezoning in which every scenerio presented we would move again.
Honestly, I will never understand why we were moved in 2006 from Washington which is not near capacity to Root which is over capacity. I sure hope better planning is done this go round to prevent families like mine having to be moved more than once in their elementary careers.
I also agree with the previous comment that if 9th grade will be moving to the high school, that should free up space in elementaries--why not rezone after that takes place (a rezone might not even be necessary).

Posted by Lisa Hearne on November 20, 2008 8:47 AM

I read in the paper today that the Board isn't expected to redraw attendance zones until the 2010-2011 school year? If we are "redrawing", why wouldn't it be done for the 2009 - 2010 school year? Regardless of the decision to keep the "lines" the same or redraw, parents don't want to be kept in limbo for 2 more years. The new Butterfield school will be completed by fall 2009, Root and Holcomb are full, and the housing market is such that families in apartments or starter homes are moving into new homes. These families need to know, long-term, in which school district they are buying. Ask the realtors - - there are homes and property for sale in the Brookbury and Savanna subdivisions that are sitting unsold primarily because existing Vandergriff parents who are looking at these properties don't want to buy because they don't know if their kids (who are already attending Vandergriff School) will need to be moved to Butterfield. I agree there are changes coming (9th grade moving to FHS) that could change the population of elementary schools, but the Board should have that data and be able to put some numbers on paper and make a decision now for the long-term future. The Board's decision to postpone a decision to redraw in 2010 is keeping this town in a stressful state of limbo.

Posted by Carol Gillespie on November 20, 2008 10:09 AM

In todays paper, it was reported that Ginny Wiseman wants to repeal the school policy that requires students to attend the school in which they live. If we are going to do away with that policy then why do we need attendance zones at all? Won't it then just become a popularity contest with each school principal in order to get your child in the school of your choice? The schools already allow people to attend the school when they don't live in the zone and just ignore the violation of the school policy. Is that really the reason Ms. Wiseman wants to get rid of it? Drawing attendance zones or allowing people to attend wherever they can manage to get their children in will have the same affect of grouping the "haves" together and the "have nots" together. Is this really the way Fayetteville Public Schools wish to be percieved? Or do they just not care. One of the listed criteria is socio-economic indicators. Any talks of attendance zones should be based on locality of students to schools and not really based on the socio-economic status of the parents of those students. For example, the last time rezoning came up groups of people zoned in Vandergriff did not believe they should be moved to Butterfield, a school for which they are closer. And yet some of the maps took the rental properties across the street from Vandergriff, possibly those of lower socio-economic status, and moved them across town to Leverett. What part of this makes any common sense? At the last round table meeting, it seems Susan Heil was correct when she agreed that those without a large voice will not get heard. I guess that explains some of the drawing of the last proposed attendance zones. Should we expect anything different now?

Posted by Susan Heil on November 20, 2008 11:31 AM

Thanks for your note Lisa.

The article in the paper today wasn’t complete. When we rezone we work to make changes that will last five years. If we make changes now there will be the chance of having to move some families twice within three years. If we can make the school enrollment work for three years predicting the historical flat rate of growth then we will only have the one change when the 9th graders move up. Moving the 9th graders into the high school could possibly effect every school in our district. It will be a big adjustment. If we wait, Butterfield staff would have time to get used to a new facility. The community will see how wonderful the new building will be and the transition will easier and most importantly we will have only one change for our students. I am still awaiting administrative recommendation that our enrollment can hold for three years waiting for the 9th grade rezone. I expect that word in December. The Times was not representing the full picture.

I know you are anxious to get things settled and so am I. The move of the 9th graders could have an extensive impact on our district. I would rather wait if we can and make the changes only once instead of twice.

Susan Heil
FPS School Board President

Posted by Becky Purcell on November 20, 2008 12:51 PM

For folks who are purchasing homes based on school attendance zones, I wish we could guarantee for them which school their child will be zoned to attend. Unfortunately, that is not possible. We can assure every parent that with their support of our schools their child will receive an excellent education within the Fayetteville Public School District--anywhere within the school district.

Those of you who are posting here are the kind of parents who are involved and passionate about your kids getting a great education. Knowing that, we CAN guarantee that with your level of engagement and the quality of every school in our district your child will receive an excellent education.

Becky Purcell
School Board Member

P.S. To correct a statement in the Times article today, we are not looking at attendance zones because I thought since 3 years had passed it needed to be looked at again. Our concern began last year with the overcrowding at Vandergriff and continues this year with the overcrowding at Root and Holcomb (Vandergriff's situation has eased somewhat). I was appointed by Board President Steve Percival to lead the initiative.

Posted by Ginny Wiseman on November 20, 2008 2:35 PM

The proposed repeal of the 1960's policy requiring students to go to school within their attendance areas does not take into account the fact that we now have 4 open enrollment schools and rules and regulations from the state that mandate class size (which has the potential to cause overflow situations).

Posted by Laura Marsh on November 20, 2008 4:30 PM

While the topic of rezoning makes me wince a little, I understand that there are times that this might happen. I would ask that the district as they look at rezoning so that children might be able to keep several friendships as they are moved. It is concerning to me to wonder if my street or my small neighborhood (fieldstone) might be moved, which would essentially render my children as starting over friendship-wise. I know that kids adjust easily but the relationships that kids make at schools are important and I'd like to see this taken into consideration.