Redistricting group to work on 'Map B' Thursday

Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:25pm
By: The Citizen

Committee due to present 2 maps to BOE Monday night at McIntosh

The grunt work of redrawing Fayette’s elementary school district lines is not over yet.

The committee plans to recommend two different maps to the school board for possible adoption, "Map A" and "Map B." But few if any committee members were totally happy with Map B, which they only got to work on for less than an hour Monday night in their first crack at it.

The committee will meet again Thursday night at 6 p.m. to flesh out Map B, which would leave East Fayette Elementary School open.

Plans are still on track to present both maps to the Board of Education at a special workshop meeting at McIntosh High School Monday at 7 p.m.

Although public comment will not be allowed at that meeting, it will be sought at a school board meeting Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at Whitewater High School, said assistant school superintendent Sam Sweat.

While the committee has spent most of its time working on Map A, Monday was the first chance it had to work on Map B. A number of committee members said Monday that the map had promise but more time was needed to "tweak" it.

While most of the county's district lines remain the same on Map A as they are on Map B, the lines for four schools would change: Spring Hill, Sara Harp Minter and Brooks Elementary along with the new Inman Elementary.

Several committee members said Monday night they still oppose the radical change that Map A would bring on their school, particularly Sara Harp Minter and Spring Hill. Under Map A East Fayette Elementary students would be dispersed to Minter, Spring Hill and the new Inman Elementary, due to open next fall.

In part to account for the influx of the East Fayette students at Minter and Spring Hill — and in part to help fill the new Inman Elementary school — Minter and Spring Hill would lose a significant amount of their current school population, with those students being shifted to other schools.

The majority of the committee, however, seemed to strongly favor those changes as part of Map A.
With the exception of the map changes to East Fayette, Minter, Spring Hill, Inman and Brooks Elementary, the rest of the county’s proposed elementary school lines are unchanged from Map A to Map B.

However, some additional changes to different parts of the county were proposed Monday night and changes are likely to come at Thursday's meeting.

Map B was seen by some committee members as inferior to Map A, but to others Map B had enough promise to consider tweaking at another meeting.

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Submitted by ncardilli on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:16pm.

It has been my professional experience that when a project of this size is taken on the Consultant is called in first for their unbiased opinion. Not after money has been spent on the purchase of land and the building of a school without a clear understanding of where the children to fill the school will come from. I realize that the school board needs the freedom to make the best decision for the education of the children in the county, but it appears that there have been underlying motives from the begining in addition to a poor plan poorly executed.

At this point how do we know that Inman is in the best spot to remedy current strains and projected strains on the elmentry school system? This late decision to possibly close East Fayette is a clear indication of that issue. Again money and time spent then create the plan.

As parents the issue of our children is not so much about the building they are in, but the quality of the education they recieve. Some students will be taken out of State recognized schools to be moved into unranked schools. Additionally the ciriculum is the same across the county, but that ciriculum is only as good as the teachers and staff. Who will staff this new school? What are its chances of being recognized?

These are the important questions and the fact that the Board is getting push back at this late date is a indication that the parents are not confident that the board has spent tax money in a effecient manner that will benifit all the children to be impacted by this large decision!

Submitted by timeforchange on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 8:56am.

The committee has the unenviable task of filling a school built in the wrong place. Yes, a new school was needed, but not in the middle of the countryside where there was neither growth or children. The reason the committee was chosen to do this was to take the heat off of Sweat and Campbell. They can now stand back rub their hands and say “The committee did it” Kelly Carry said “children should never chase schools” Yet they did it with Bennett’s Mill and they are now doing it with Inman. It's a win win situation for Sweat and Campbell, they blame the committee and then turn around and say we are never having community involvment again it doesn't work. They are 100 percent accountable for this unnessesary disruption of so many children not the committee.

Submitted by heebeegeebees on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:48pm.

The BOE doesn't need an unbiased consultant to tell them where the county growth projections are, and to help them pick new school sites. (They provide this information to the consultant.) The consultant is specifically to deal with a long overdue and highly volatile issue of school redistricting. There are a lot of good schools that have been built almost on top of each other around some of the older growth areas in Fayette County, and the current lines don't make much sense in light of new growth patterns. It makes sense to utilize an unbiased, professional consultant to keep the focus on the real issues and keep the process on track, as there is a high level of personal pride in our little school district and parents tend to get very emotional about any changes.

Q."Who will staff this new school?"

A. from article "2,400 kids face switching schools?"
Tue, 10/16/2007 - 4:53pm By: John Thompson
"Carey [the consultant] showed the committee numbers indicating that closing East Fayette would save the school system about $644,000 a year in reduced staffing costs. Although the entire staff could transfer to the new Inman Elementary School, the system would not have to hire a new staff for the new school."
Adding in the savings from the energy efficiency of the new school, the disctrict will actually realize significantly more savings. The older building will more than likely be used for much needed expansion of offices and other BOE admin uses. How's that for efficiency!!!

Q. What are its [Inman's] chances of being recognized?

A. The staff will be coming from a very diverse district that has a larger population of learning challenges than most of the Fayette County schools. They are doing an outstanding job, and are already experienced and unified as a team...there is no reason to doubt that they will excell and be 'recognized' as a new school.

If you have specific questions about the process, make friends with your school's representative, and read the paper (with a grain of salt). Smiling

-Not my professional opinion, just a parent who is proud of our schools!

Submitted by g8trgrl on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 10:27am.

You're right on the money hebegeebees! Long overdue! 2 new schools coming, 3 schools overcrowded, some schools underutilized = new school lines. I think the new school percentages are very even & in the long run (5 years) this will all make sense. I hope the BoE can accept one of these maps & we can move on. The E. Fayette parents deserve a school designed for elementary kids just like the rest of this county. Let's support the board in this process. I hope the people of PTC will watch the future growth coming & stay involved. There is a 475 home subdivision coming & I wonder where those kids will go to school?

Fyt35's picture
Submitted by Fyt35 on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:33am.

"But hardly any committee members were happy with the second option, which they only got to work on for less than an hour Monday night, and hadn’t been fleshed out at previous meetings."

Such an important decision impacting so many families and they had just on hour to work on this? Obviously, someone has their mind made up and are trying to ram this down your throats. The waste of resources on this project is monumental. Is the FCBOE accountable to anyone?

Submitted by heebeegeebees on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 8:33am.

"The waste of resources on this project is monumental. Is the FCBOE accountable to anyone?"

The committee is largely made up of parent volunteers from each elementary school in Fayette County. They are unpaid VOLUNTEERS, and have spend large amounts of time working through the learning curve and processes involved in redistricting. FCBOE is accountable to this dedicated group of parents during this process, and will eventually open it up to feedback from others as well. If you want to hold the school board accountable, get involved in the process. Many, many thanks to all of the parent volunteers who have given up hours and hours of their time to work on this thankless (read heavily criticized) job. Bravo!

-not a committee member, but proud to know a few.

Fyt35's picture
Submitted by Fyt35 on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 8:57am.

I am well aware of the fact that these individuals are volunteers, but my beef is with the FCBOE and their ineffectiveness. They are ultimately responsible for this fiasco, not the volunteer committee members.

Submitted by heebeegeebees on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 8:44am.

If by ineffectiveness you mean that not everyone will be 'happy' with the new lines, then you have a legitmate beef. But the lines will be redrawn and take effect whether everyone is happy or not.

Generally, the unhappy parents are the ones who add that lovely and well planned element of 'fiasco' to these events.

Submitted by opinionslayer on Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:01am.

ARTICLE STATES: "But hardly any committee members were happy with the second option, which they only got to work on for less than an hour Monday night, and hadn’t been fleshed out at previous meetings."

POST INFERRED: "Such an important decision impacting so many families and they had just on hour to work on this?"

THE TRUTH: The committee - of which I am part of - worked on "Alternative B" for one hour ON MONDAY NIGHT (of which the article speaks of, just not reflected very well) MANY man hours on Alternative B, just not enough compared to Alternative A that we feel ready to present to the Board.

Let it also be noted that when the committee worked on Alternative A, there was a learning curve that we needed to get over that was not needed when we began Alternative B, thus needing as many man hours for this 2nd alternative. The bottom line is that the committee needs more time to flesh out the 2nd alternative and is requesting more time.

Committee Member

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