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School Committee Approves Redistricting Plan

Clapp School parents should get school assignment letters soon.

Parents of students at the will soon receive a letter telling them which of two other elementary schools their child will attend in the fall:  the or the .

The School Committee unanimously approved a Wednesday night for Clapp School students.

Using Hudson Street as a border, about 60 students from the Clapp School neighborhood will move to the White School, according to a presentation by school Supt. Mark Donovan.

Using Richardson Street as a border, about 100 students will move to the Goodyear School.

All of the students who would have attended the Goodyear School but went to the Clapp while the new Goodyear was being built will go to the Goodyear School.

The Clapp School will close as a public school at the end of this school year.

A number of students who live on Richard Circle will also be going to the Goodyear School in the fall, from the Altavesta School. Their parents asked for that move two years ago, Donovan said.

Donovan plans to review actual district street lists with the school principals, he said, and then get the school assignment letters out.

Staff at both “receiving” schools suggested that students and their parents be invited to their new schools before school starts, Donovan said.

The School Committee spent 25 minutes reviewing the sometimes-contentious redistricting process.

Redistricting is a “controversial topic,” Donovan said.

The superintendent reiterated some of the points he made in redistricting presentations at the Clapp, , and White schools. 

One goal of the redistricting was to move all students into new school buildings, he said.

Some of the benefits of this plan, versus several other options, Donovan said, is that it balances enrollment, not an intended goal; maintains reasonable class size; better distributes elementary school resources; and avoids fragmenting neighborhoods.

The White School enrolls 321 students; the Shamrock, 294, without pre-kindergarten; the Goodyear, 333; and the Reeves, 496, without pre-kindergarten, he said.

Software that can account for the number of students on a particular street was used to draw prospective district lines, Donovan said.

This plan is the least disruptive for the most students, said committee Chairman Patricia Chisholm.

If more staff—a nurse, for example, or a crossing guard—is needed as a result of the redistricting, that will be addressed as time goes on, said committee member Michael Mulrenan.

Bus transportation still needs to be worked out, Donovan told the committee.

Now there will be no more elementary school redistricting for five years, the time some School Committee members have said the next elementary school project might be done? asked School Committee member Dr. John Wells.

Correct, Donovan replied.

Middle school assignments remain the same, Donovan said; out-of-district requests for those students are available, he noted.

Donovan praised the redistricting committee, which was comprised of a principal, teacher and parent from the Clapp, White, Shamrock and Reeves schools. They represented their own schools well, Donovan said, but also kept the needs of all students in mind.

Input on the redistricting was solicited several times, Donovan said. School Committee members Mulrenan and Joseph Crowley described the process as “transparent.”

Related to the redistricting, Donovan said he has raised the issue of traffic at the White School at drop-off and pick-up time with Mayor Scott Galvin and David Dunkley, school building facilities director. Galvin is “interested” in the issue and Dunkley has some suggestions, Donovan said.

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