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Poll: What's Your View on Redistricting?

With the public hearing on the proposed redistricting plan less than a week away, Winchester Patch wants to know what you think about the plan.

The Redistricting Advisory Committee made its final recommendation for the redistricting changes affecting several Winchester elementary schools. If passed, the changes will go into effect for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Before then, a public hearing is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at .

The School Committee, who makes the final decision on redistricting changes, will hold a special meeting for the final vote 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7 at the high school.

The proposed map has been attached to this article. You can also view Superintendent William McAlduff's presentation from Tuesday, May 22 when he presented the final recommendation to the School Committee. More information about how to submit comments to the School Committee and other presentations can be found here.

Winchester Patch has also received several letters concerning the proposed school boundary plan. You can see the following letters below:

We want to know where you stand on this issue leading up to the public hearing. Take the one-click poll, and feel free to elaborate in the comments below.

GOC June 06, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Winchester Parent, I am merely responding to the idea that a) VO has extra capacity b) if we cannot redistrict based on neighborhood, then let us recut the students another way. And we need to recut the population to make the move attractive to parents and make it worth their while. VO students will always have room in the school since I assume that the RAC's calculation has already taken into account current and future VO volume. The gifted program will just replace the student volume who would otherwise be moved to VO due to redistricting. This idea is not without merit- in recent years, there have been many applications for chartered schools to address this need for a different kind of education. This idea is an attempt to marry up an excess capacity issue and an unmet demand.
DRW June 06, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Arlington is facing the exact same issue and having similar redistricting debates at the moment. I thought this was an interesting article from a realtor around potential impact on home values: http://arlington.patch.com/blog_posts/redistricting-realizations-hits-homeowners I'd say we share a lot of the same characteristics as Arlington -- maybe not the same amount of restaurants and amenities, but we do have a more compact and accessible downtown and easy access to the commuter rail. We have a lot of friends looking to move into Winchester right now, and anything that is reasonably priced -- in any part of town, regardless of school district -- seems to be generating a bidding war. I also read that Winchester is one of the few Massachusetts towns that has preserved home values throughout the housing bust.
Fabrizio June 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM
It just seems that this is less of an answer to how to move 100-220 student around the district to balance out the class sizes and more a new initiative to offer a charter school option in Winchester. I agree that Charter schools are a popular option in school districts that perform at a lower academic level. I don't believe there are any examples of where a public school district set up their own charter schools. For Winchester parents that are frustrated with the lack of a charter school, why not apply for one of the many already out there (Melrose, Malden, etc). Why create another with all the associated costs? I read your original proposal as starting a gifted program not an entirely new charter school. But, if you think there's alot of pent up demand in Winchester for a charter school, then why hasn't the market already started one? Its because, in general, people are happy with the school performance and don't need a charter school. So, I'll go back to my original point, if you are suggesting a gifted program, you need school funding, space, and enough people to sign up. And those people that sign up have to be in the right proportions to equally balance class size across all 5 schools. Not likely.
BAV June 07, 2012 at 12:08 AM
GOC - That is an intriguing idea. (For what it is worth, the idea was recommended by another friend too). I think that it comes with its own set of problems too. In the short term, while it is being set up, I am not sure that many would sign up for it, thus little immediate help. (As indicated by the RAC, there were 1000's of letters and all of them asked for their kids to stay in their current schools.) If successful (a big IF), then, in the long term too many people might sign up for it. You would have to limit the number allowed to enter the program every year to match the space requirement. You might also have to limit from which schools the students could come from (coming from Lynch or VO doesn't help with redistricting). And you might set up a tiered school system which we all claim to dislike. Still, I think this is one of the better alternatives I've heard.
Gang Xing June 07, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I used to live in Plano, TX and know this kind of program. I believe that GOC's idea is a very good one. For kids who are bored by something they already know, a bit more knowledge and opportunity will keep motivating them. It will help build the whole school district performance as well. As I see from people who live in Texas, this program does not necessarily to lead to an advantageous group, rather it creates diversities.

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