A unanimous decision by the Board of Education Tuesday concerning has resulted in the AI program moving from to , as of September.
This will affect about 100 students, who will be moved from one school to the other.
But concerns still lingered from board member Cindy Cullen about the fact that, while this move brings Adamsville at or under capacity, it pushes Hamilton to just under capacity as well.
“Why wouldn’t we be doing a broader redistricting that would not have such disparity between different schools?” she asked.
The plan to move the AI program from Adamsville frees up about five classrooms in that school—although Superintendent of Schools Michael Schilder said most of those classrooms will be filled right away.
“There is some substandard usage in that building, and opening five rooms will be a tremendous relief,” he said. “However, at least three or four will get eaten up really quickly.”
In the end, Schilder said, there will probably still be one open room, and Adamsville Primary will be just under capacity.
Adamsville currently has about 607 students in its building.
“It will be tight, but not nearly as tight as it is now,” Schilder said. “We are going from an over capacity situation to one that is approaching capacity, but is a lot better.”
On the other side, Schilder said, Hamilton will be getting closer to capacity.
For the 2011-2012 school year, there are about 395 students in Hamilton.
“We have buildings that will be right at capacity, but this plan will work,” Schilder said.
To clarify, board member Jeffrey Brookner said he wanted to verify that the numbers concerning enrollment are still only a best guess at this point.
“The conclusion that there would only be one empty classroom at Adamsville is based on a generous assumption of enrollment?” he asked.
Schilder said that these figures are the worst case scenario, but if enrollments play out how the district is actually envisioning, Hamilton might be down a section anyway, which will open another room in the building.
As to a companion solution with moving the AI program to control that disparity, Cullen said she did not have one in mind in particular because she does not believe there is anything that would reduce disruptions for students.
“If we move a couple of bus routes, there’s not a symbiotic relation to what’s on the table and that,” she said. “If we move the two buses from the east side of town, or move the bus from Foothill, that doesn’t work well with what’s on the table.”
But for most of the board members, they believed that moving the AI program right now, and revisiting the idea of redistricting in the next year, is the best solution.
“I’m comfortable with this for now, and have the administration review enrollment and make a recommendation to possibly come back to the board,” said board member Jill Gladstone. “Maybe at some point we could redraw the bus routes to make sure we are using to its most efficient capacity.”
Board member Arvind Mathur said the most important thing in this process is to ensure that there is very little disruption to the students.
“One of the reasons we are moving the AI program intact from one school to another is because they are moving with the whole class, and I think that’s the least disruptive,” he said. “If we want to be equitable, we would have to redraw every line, and that would disrupt everyone.”
“We need to do this now, live with it this year and reevaluate it,” he added.
Brookner said he agrees that it is not a good idea to jump to a broad redrawing of all bus routes, particularly without watching enrollment.
“Really, if we were to start over and redraw the lines, 90 percent of the kids would still go to the same school they go to now,” he said. “But I don’t think we should be doing it now because the situation is so fluid and changes every year. I don’t see any situation in the district that is dire enough to worry about it.”
“I don’t want to move anyone unless we can make a long-term commitment, and say we need to move people,” he added. “We need to see how this works before we put our necks on the line to do something more permanent.”
Schilder said any of the ideas presented by the task force could work in the district, and he will make the move of AI work as well. Basically, with this plan he said, Adamsville goes from at capacity to under capacity; Hamilton goes from under capacity to being almost at capacity; and Bradley Gardens remains under capacity.
“The advantage of what we have on the table is that no students are moved from their neighborhood schools,” he said. “There is minimum disruption.”