The Winchester Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) is preparing options for redistricting maps for the elementary school attendance boundaries for the 2013-2014 academic year. The RAC has a deadline to present its recommendations to the School Committee on May 22, and the School Committee is hoping to vote on a final model by June. The redistricting will be implemented in September 2013.
“We don't know yet (how many children will be affected). It will depend on which plan is ultimately adopted. Although in reality every student in the district will be affected, even if a child isn't moved to another school, they may have friends who move,” School Committee Member Sarah Girotti said.
“Currently, the four elementary schools in town are either at or over capacity. With the rebuilding of the six new classrooms will open up for students. Over the past 10 years, Winchester has experienced a significant increase in enrollment,” Superintendent Bill McAlduff said. “Enrollment has increased by 37 percent.”
With a larger Vinson-Owen school and three new classrooms set to open in the 2013-14 school year, a total of six new classrooms will open up for more students. The hope is to maintain 18 to 20 students for the kindergarten through second grade classes and 20 to 22 students per third through fifth grade classes. The administrations office will also move from the to Park Hurst Elementary School.
It is expected that , and will reduce their enrollment by approximately 40-60 students each or the equivalent of two or three classrooms with the redistricting plan. Lynch and Vinson-Owen will be able to accommodate 180 additional students. Some staff relocation and hiring will naturally occur.
“One of the biggest focal points of the redistricting committee is to keep neighborhoods in tact,”Girotti said. “We are making every attempt to use natural barriers like major roads, railroad tracks, etc., where possible.
“Keeping neighborhoods together is very important. Now, that could mean putting one street in one school zone and the next in another, but we will work to keep neighborhoods intact,” McAlduff said. “We also use a rule of thumb for a walkability range of .5 miles from school.”
According to the RAC’s website, “The RAC will support the District policies with regard to the special needs of children with disabilities and their ability to access facilities. As final recommendations are proposed, accommodations will be considered for all children including students with special needs, or those who are ELL or Title 1.”
“By completing the redistricting, schools will be able to open up their specialty rooms again,” McAlduff said. “The libraries, music rooms, art rooms and computer labs are currently being used as classrooms and will be able to open up for their original purposes.”
Anyone with concerns or questions should go to the RAC website at www.winchesterredistricting.com.