Redistricted maps of county’s elem. schools get first reading Monday

Redistricted maps of the county’s elementary sch-ools received a first reading Monday, Oct. 9, by members of the Huntington County Community Sch-ool Corporation Board of School Trustees, as the board and administrators worked to keep student capacity levels fair across the six schools.

Superintendent Randy Harris said that while Salamonie School has far more capacity than the corporation will be able to use, the new boundary lines for the other five elementary schools bring each school as close to capacity as possible.

Transportation Director Vanessa Fields said that on the streets and roads that border the new districts, buses will pick up students on both sides of the road to go to the same school, eliminating having two buses travel the same stretch of roadway. For example, students who live on both sides of Ind.-9 on the boundary lines will go to Andrews Elementary School.

With the new boundary lines, enrollment for 2018 at the elementary schools is estimated at:

• Andrews, 388 of a capacity of 405.

• Flint Springs, 450 of a capacity of 445.

• Horace Mann, 385 of a capacity of 445.

• Lincoln, 378 of a capacity of 450.

• Roanoke, 398 of a capacity of 425.

• Salamonie, 313 of a capacity of 500.

“We have moved these numbers around and tried to make more sense,” Fields said.

Harris echoed that sentiment, crediting Fields with working hard to come up with an equitable, balanced solution.

“We’ve looked at it student by student and street by street to make the most sense as far as transportation times, moving kids around when we have to,” he said. “When we move a few kids in town, that creates differences in transportation times in town, which then affects the kids in outer stretches of the county.”

School bus pickup times will not be available until closer to the 2018-19 year.

There was no public input on redistricting during the meeting, except for one parent who asked that the lines be redrawn so his children could go to a different school. Harris said he expected that several similar requests would be made prior to the second reading and vote, which could come at the board’s Oct. 23 meeting.

A link to the proposed redistricting maps can be accessed through the HCCSC website by going to district/redistricting_infor mation.

Larger versions of the maps and detailed boundary lines can also be viewed in the school board
room, located at the Horace Mann Education Center, 2485 Waterworks Rd.

The board also got a first reading of a new school transfer policy. Highlights of the draft include:

• A form to request a transfer must be completed and submitted to the student’s home school.
 The request must be approved by both principals. If either principal denies the request, the transfer is denied.

The balance of students among schools, class size within schools and facility requirements are legitimate reasons for denial of a request.

• Parents can appeal denials to the superintendent in writing. Burden of proof of hardship is placed on the parents to show why the student cannot remain in the home school.

• A brother or sister of a transferred student is not automatic in receiving a transfer. Each case will be decided on its own merits.

• Students who move to another attendance area after the school year begins may complete the school year in the original school of enrollment.

• Transportation is the responsibility of parents who have been granted permission to transfer their student or remain in a school after moving.

Harris said students who are at daycare may be picked up at the daycare bus stop, but they will not be allowed to be picked up at other bus stops.

Harris said about 40 students transfer in to HCCSC schools from other school corporations, as space for them is available.

Board members could vote on the policy during its second reading at the Oct. 23 board meeting.

In other business, the board unanimously adopted the 2018 budget, after hearing no objection during a public hearing period.

After another public hearing in which no one addressed the board, members unanimously approved the project resolution, preliminary determination resolution and a reimbursement resolution moving the proposed $40 million renovation and technology project forward.

The 2018 project includes the construction of a new Roanoke elementary school.

The costs will be funded mainly by capital projects fund money and general obligation bonds, with no increase in the tax rate expected.