Parents and students affected by Southwest Allen County Schools’ proposed redistricting plan could know as soon as Nov. 5 whether they’ll need to prepare for a move next year.
The plan calls for moving 77 students in the Chestnut Hills subdivision, off Illinois Road, from Covington Elementary to Deer Ridge Elementary beginning the fall 2014.
The majority of the district’s elementary schools are at 83 percent to 85 percent capacity. Covington is at 91 percent capacity, while Deer Ridge is at 73.2 percent. The redistricting changes would bring Covington’s capacity to 82.1 percent and Deer Ridge to 88.6 percent capacity.
The district’s two middle schools and four other elementary schools – Aboite, Haverhill, Lafayette Meadows and Whispering Meadows – would not be affected. Administrators initially hoped to have a decision by March, but presentations have gone well and the district is prepared to move forward, Superintendent Steve Yager said.
“There were some people who had some passion and some emotion about being transferred,” Yager said. “…But what is credible is those who listened to the data and research and analysis did understand.”
Yager said the decision to move forward in November rather than March would give teachers at Deer Ridge additional time to prepare for incoming students. The board plans to vote on the redistricting plan at the Nov. 5 meeting.
“I think we’ve done our homework,” Holly Glick, board vice president, said about the decision to move forward.
Once a decision about redistricting has been finalized, the board plans to move to discussions about creating a common schedule for grades six through 12, a new plan for the district’s high school seniors, changes to student dropoff and pickup times and a possible change to the district’s ninth-grade academy, Yager said.
Currently, Summit Middle School is on an eight-period schedule, Woodside Middle School follows an eight-block schedule and Homestead High School has a seven-period school day. The suggested changes would create a uniform schedule for all three schools, Yager said.
The district will also consider moving ninth-graders from the academy into the current 10th- through 12th-grade building, while maintaining a separate program similar to the academy program for freshmen.
The board also plans to discuss shifting pickup and dropoff times so elementary school students are picked up and dropped off before students in the secondary schools, Yager said.
“We’ve been talking openly (during redistricting meetings) about some of those ideas. It doesn’t mean that any or all of them are going to happen, but we’re going to look into them. And if it’s better for students… we’ll move ahead with some of those decisions,” he said.