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Superintendent Proposes Redistricting Map

The superintendent presented his recommendation for the redrawn elementary school boundaries for the 2013-2014 academic year Wednesday night.

Superintendent William McAlduff presented his recommendation for redistricting that would have four major areas of students changing districts to ease increasing enrollment in Winchester.

“Since the last elementary school was constructed seven years ago, enrollment has lead to capacity strain at every school,” McAlduff said. “With each elementary school at or over capacity, redistricting has to be done.”

Part one of the solution began in 2008 with the reconstruction of and  elementary schools which have two module classrooms each. Twelve classrooms will be added by 2013 when the  is finished. Two classrooms will be added to the , McAlduff said.

“However, construction, reclaim and relocation are not enough to fix the problem," the superintendent continued. "If there were no redistricting, project enrollment would be far too high. Redistricting must be the last action taken."

The Winchester Redistricting Advisory Committee focused on equitable distribution of schools, providing specialist space, development of plan that adapts to future projections. McAlduff explained this group met regularly, analyzed census data, went over 30 different models, held two public meetings and gathered online feedback.

The map put forth by the superintendent is but a reviewed and revised plan built from feedback from the community. 

“Four major areas have students moving from one district to the other," McAlduff said. "These provide enrollment equity, disruption equity 90 students impacted, program equity, resource equity, neighborhood stability, budget stability, sustainability."

What do you think about the proposed redistricting maps? Let us know in the comments.

The attached image shows the superintendent's recommendations. The map will also be posted on the redistricting website.

"I want to stress that fifth graders in the 2013 class will be grandfathered into their original schools in 2013,” McAlduff said.

The next school committee meeting will be June 4; this meeting will be open to public commenting and opinion. The plan will be voted on June 7 and implemented in September 2013.

SG May 30, 2012 at 04:38 PM
BAV, do you understand many families do not know about the public meetings? Many people living in the disrupted area are not as much social-economically advantaged, so they may not have time and energy to get involved in the processes, or even heard about this issue until a few days ago. This does not mean these families' concerns can be ignored. This is exactly the reason why the vote should be postponed so that more people can be involved in this process.
RSB May 30, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Of course the committee was biased. After all, none of their homes are affected. Correct? I would agree with your proposition if some of the school committee members could sit on our side of the fence and take the hit and have their children uprooted. Then and only then could I agree that they acted impartially. Robert Burnham, 17 Oak Street.
SG May 30, 2012 at 04:45 PM
outsidein, do you understand many families do not know about the public meetings until very recenlty? Many people living in the disrupted area are not as much social-economically advantaged, so they may not have time,energy, or even English skill to get involved in the processes, or even heard about this issue until a few days ago. This does not mean these families' concerns can be ignored. This is exactly the reason why the vote should be postponed so that more people can be involved in this process.
outsidein May 30, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Robert, since you seem to know everybody's motives in this - why don't you just come up with the redistricting plan? I love Monday morning quarterbacks that sit on the sidelines and cast asperions on people they don't know. Why didn't you suggest this idea at any of the prior public hearings? I think you need to stick with debating the merits of the plan and stop questioning the integrity of the people that developed it. It weakens your arguement, speaks more about you than the committee members, and distracts from the actual issues / concerns people have about the plan.
SG May 30, 2012 at 04:51 PM
outsidein, large impact means the whole Winchester down due to the perceived overcrowding issue. "What's wrong with Lynch?" I already explained. I did not get involved in this issue until recently, because I never heard about this issue until recently. From the report, it is apparent that the final plan was chosen mainly because the number of families/student impacted is minimized. Of course, I (and many people in our neighborhood) will speak up in the next meeting.
Mike May 30, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Nobody is casting asperions. I am sure that each committee members is quite upstanding and tried to do their best. Anyone that could sit on that committee and not be influenced at all by friends and neighbors should be considered for sainthood. Such bias could be completely unintentional. What I don't understand is the objection to an outside review. What should they be afraid of? If I were on that committee, I would want someone to verify my work. Especially on such an important issue.
Townie May 30, 2012 at 05:14 PM
With regard to communication about the process: -- the RAC's process and public hearings were publicized through every public school newsletter on a weekly basis. --The information was disseminated through the preschools as well. --It was covered in the papers (Star, Patch, Times). --The committee had a website www.winchesterredistricting.com, which received thousands of hits. The website was kept up-to-date, including the posting of all presentations. -- Interested parties that were not able to attend the public hearings were encouraged to submit comments to the committee online.
Mike May 30, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I only ask for an independent check on the RAC's work.The numbers you state above to be verified. Double check the analysis that was done to confirm assumptions for projections on past known data and past known enrollments. Take a second look at the other solutions than redistricting. Have someone be able to stand up and answer the questions we all have.
GB May 30, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Just wondering, outsidein, if you realize that the new redistricted map was not even presented to the public before it was recommended to the school committee. I wouldn't call that "open and accountable" -- it also seems that everyone wants to rush this decision since the vote is scheduled only a few days after the public meeting. This is not at all "open and accountable" as you stated. In addition, the residents who did attend the April meeting may have been a small group (probably due to the lack of public announcements about the meeting) -- but they represented all the people who could have been affected by any one of the models -- and they overwhelmingly preferred Model J, the more walkable model.
SG May 30, 2012 at 07:48 PM
With regard to procedures, I would like to quote one parent's comment: "the new redistricted map was not even presented to the public before it was recommended to the school committee." -- "it also seems that everyone wants to rush this decision since the vote is scheduled only a few days after the public meeting."
BAV May 30, 2012 at 08:01 PM
SG - The map proposal is a linear combination of the three previous models. There are no changes proposed in the final model that were not proposed in the earlier models. Anyone claiming to be blindsided was not paying attention. They may still have legitimate concerns about the model, but confusion should not be one of them.
outsidein May 30, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Mike - I'm not accusing you of casting aspersions. My comment was in response to RSB's comment "Of course the committee was biased...". I respect that you think an independent consultant would help but I think that even if an independent consultant came up with a different plan, those impacted by it would challenge the "independence" the consultant and probably request a second opinion on the consultant. Where would it end? We'd be in the same situation just one year and several hundred thousand dollars later. I'd rather people voice their concerns to the school committee and let our elected officials handle it. An independent consultant is no holy grail that will solve this problem. No matter what group gets redistricted, people will be upset and angry. Its understandable.
RSB May 31, 2012 at 12:04 AM
This is my biggest fear, that you're pressure of a time constraint is causing the solution to be backed into, regardless if how flawed it is. Remember we will be impacted for min. 6 years and several families for 10 years or more. No one is asking to delay this for over a year but I believe a month or two would buy a great deal of trust on the part of the affected neighborhoods. Please. Take your time. Our kids deserve it.
SG May 31, 2012 at 12:23 AM
BAV - Thank you for your comments. In my neighborhood there are many families with modest income or net wealth, or use English as the second language, or coming from a different culture. These people may get used to spending most of their energy and time in dealing with their work. They may not pay attention to or understand the town newspaper, public school newsletter, or RAC website and public hearings. But there are social-economic factors behind this phenomenon. I hope you can understand this point. I believe no family should be ignored in our Winchester town. This is exactly the reason why the vote should be postponed so that more people can be involved in this process.
Winchester May 31, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Redistricting has been a subject of discussion since October. And these people are obviously reading the patch (very vocal suddenly!) there have been articles here as well. They've been given enough chances. Now they can just get used to the idea of switching to a new school
SG May 31, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I only knew about the patch a few days ago. I am vocal "suddenly", because I only heard of this issue a few days ago. I also knew of people in my neighborhood who did not know about this issue until a few day ago. I believe many people in my neighborhood will not get used to the idea of switching to a new school. People with hurt feeling will tend to remember for very long time. I hope we all be open minded to new ideas, and listen to all people's concerns.
RSB May 31, 2012 at 03:49 AM
The patch is not the place to disseminate info to the public on issues so important as this. The TOWN should have sent a letter to every household, yes every house telling them the school zones will be remapped. This should have happened 6 months ago but did not. Only today did I get an "official" notice from the Town. Waaaay too late to claim that due process was handled fairly. Try again.
DRW May 31, 2012 at 05:27 AM
All I'm saying is that for every plan that was presented at the previous forum meetings, there were parents that had similar concerns...lack of walkability, unsafe walking routes, division of neighborhoods. Short of a school choice or lottery plan - which while appealing on the surface, seem difficult to administer while respecting both fairness and class size guidelines - or a grade-leveled plan, which would affect all of Winchester in terms of having to attend a less convenient school, increased transitions and juggling kids in 2-3 schools at the same time, some subset of people will be affected, especially those living on district borders. (Almost all of the initial feedback to the committee apparently rejected the former two models, so the focus then turned to finding the best option for redistricting.) I don't blame you for being upset. We live one block from Lincoln, and I'd be crushed to be moved, when we specifically bought our house because it was in spitting distance of all three schools. If you note, I'm not sold on the plan - it's only worth putting families through this pain if it truly solves the overcrowding issue for the foreseeable future, and I haven't yet heard the committee's reasoning on why they feel this is the best solution, other than what I can infer from the proposal. I'll also admit to being new to town and not understanding all of the socioeconomic nuances of the various neighborhoods, so this is valuable discussion for me to be aware of.
BAV May 31, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Where were you the past 18 months? Do you receive notices from school? Did you vote in the override? Do you read the paper? People are choosing to impugn the process when they are unhappy with the outcome. Waaaaaay too late to cry foul over the process. Don't like the proposed map? Argue on the merits of the proposal but do not argue that you didn't have time to review it.
RSB May 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM
My child does not yet attend the schools so we have received zero notices. We did not vote in the over ride. We do not receive the local paper. This is a bedroom community and we largely live our lives in the broader metro Boston environment. As an architect I deal with public process issues often and this towns handling of reaching out to the affected stakeholders is ameteurish. The issuing of the final proposed plan should be followed by a 30 day comment period, minimum. There was a committee member who has gone in record in the paper less than a 5 days after the plan was made public stating that "we're glad the decision is behind us and we're moving forward" . Excuse me? If this is the case then I most certainly will cry faul!
BAV May 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Feel free to isolate yourself from the community. Feel free to disconnect by neither reading about the issues nor voting on them. Feel free to tell the 10's of volunteers on the committee that you impugn by calling biased, the 100's of citizens who attended meetings and spoke up, and the 1000's who wrote letters about this issue that their time was wasted because you chose to disengage and use our town as a "bedroom community" and that now you would like a "do over". However, it is amateurish to complain about the process, which was open, fair, and impartial because the proposal is displeasing to you. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this issue.
RSB May 31, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I do not feel isolated at all. In fact I'm arguing for my family, my daugther and all the devastated families in my nieghborhood who want to remain part of the local school community from which be are being bullied out of. Please tell me why is okay to get an official notice from the town at the end of the 6 month process? Please? Why is this the fair and open thing to do? As a side note, I feel it my duty to stand up for the folks in my community who are unable to articulate themselves in a converstation such as this. They along with myself trusted the larger community to always do the right thing which is why I have chosen to remain detached from the community affairs. We had a neighborhood meeting a few nights ago and the families and moms are simply devasted. This is the correct word. They and I feel betrayed. So no, I am not trying to isolate myself. We are not trying to disregard the hard work that went into the process. We simply want more clear answers to explain why. Why is this the only solution? Why are committee members afraid to engage us now that we are the ones to bear the burden?
Winchester Parent May 31, 2012 at 01:26 PM
"Bullied out of" the school community? Is that really what you think. A little dramatic perhaps? The fair and open thing to do was to form a committee which took comments and concerns from ALL citizens for MONTHS and MONTHS before drafting multiple redistricting options. Then taking comments and commentary AGAIN from all citizens before reaching a final draft which fulfilled the goals and outcomes outlined by the school board while at the same time being considerate of input from interested parties. I might add the committee is made up of unpaid VOLUNTEERS. These people dedicated countless hours to this project. They gave up time with their families to help all of us. Most committee positions in this town are unpaid. People here want to be involved. The sense of community is something that differentiates WInchester from "the broader metro Boston environment." It is also one of the reasons many people choose to live here. Anyone who wants to be involved CAN be involved. Did you attend the meetings where the rationale for the plans were outlined? DId you attend and voice your opinion? Did you send a letter to the committee outlining your ideas? To claim ignorance of this WIDELY publicized (not just the local newspapers and online media, but the Boston Globe) topic is kind of pathetic, whether you have children in school or not. Do you talk to your neighbors?
Winchester May 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM
The superintendant's office has sent out emails, at least as far back as September. Each school had a parent rep on the RAC, there was alo a community representative and a parent from the special education advisory committee. There were article in the Star, the Patch and the Globe. I believe FAN hosted a meeting (definitely there was outreach to parents with young children not in school yet). My neighbor was aware of this and they work in Boston and their children are in daycare in Boston. Neither the school committee, the superintendant nor RAC were trying to hide something. They were very open about asking for community input. And if you look back on minutes fom the school committee (available on their website), they were given updates throughout the process as well. The RAC used feedback from the April meeting to devise a plan. They worked long and hard, and knew that they couldn't please everyone. If an independent consultant is used for this, then what's next, if say the police dept or fire dept doesn't like their budget, have an independent consultant redo the budget recommended by the volunteer appointed finance committee. We are a small town, we can manage our affairs with good representation. I am quite appreciative of all those that volunteer their services within the town, as we all should be, since not all of us have the time or skills to serve on these committees. If anything, join me in saying thank you to those who served on RAC!
RSB May 31, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Shame on me for not looking up. I along with you and all the other families have been trying to raise our child and attend to matters at work. Shame on me for not thanking the committee for the hardwork. I sincerely wish they the "RAC" were not put in this position, but they were and they volunteered for it. Thank you for the months of hard work. Thank you to the larger school committee and the broader community who have been engaged all through the process. You are to be commended.
outsidein May 31, 2012 at 02:11 PM
RSB, you started off with all these inflammatory process about "amateurish" town and "biased" committee members. You aren't the only person in Winchester raising children, working long hours, and in many cases dealing with elderly parents, sick animals, and whatever else consumes 110% of most people's lives. I find it hard to believe that you didn't have 3-5 hours over the past 6 months to attend the two public meetings and submit comments and suggestions to the committee. Your "woe is me, I'm too busy with my life arguement really is a shame on you. I mean, really, you couldn't find 5 hours over the past 6 mos to get somewhat engaged in this? It seems so important to you now.
RSB June 01, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Maybe this came up already and people have dismissed it for other reasons, but the real solution is a much Bigger Muraco. Then we wouldn't need the card shuffling of kids that's going on now. Too bad VO isn't more centrally located. Based on the density of that area, it looks like it will never be full until another round of mapping happens again.
Sally Ann H McCarthy June 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Reading these comments...hmmm, it's saying between the lines..if no one from your neighborhood attended the public meetings and or submitted verbal comments and suggestions to the committee, that neighborhood would be redistricted????
outsidein June 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Not sure what lines your trying to read between, but the redistricting was done to balance the number of children at each school. Input was solicited from anybody interested. I don't think the RAC looked at which neighborhoods didn't submit comments and specifically targeted them for redistricting. That's quite a conspiracy theory. I think its safe to say though that if you didn't participate, or at least listen to the discussions over the past 6 months then you really have no basis to complain about not knowing about redistricting or being aware of what was being discussed.
Mom of 2 June 03, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Sally Ann - no, that is not a fair assumption at all. Two of the most vocal groups at the public meetings are slated to move in 2013 with the current proposal. Speaking out - and speaking out in large numbers - did not seem to make any difference for those areas (I'm referring to the Ambrose "Westland Walkers" and certain parts of the Flats moving from Lynch to V-O)

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