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Group sets redistricting preference

By Bryan Richardson

After the USD 383 redistricting committee made its recommendation Thursday, Associate Supt. Bob Seymour let out a loud “woooo” that echoed in the Manhattan High East Campus Auditorium.

Seymour then thanked everyone in attendance with equal vigor “for weeks and weeks of work and worrying.”

The committee and administration had been working on redrawing the district lines since October to accommodate Lee Elementary’s new status as a large elementary school.

If the board approves the recommendation at its Feb. 1 meeting, the new district map would be implemented for the next school year. The following neighborhoods would be assigned to each school (with additions in parenthesis):

Amanda Arnold: Arbor, Cico Park, Claflin West, Lee Mill, Miller Ranch, S Anderson, Sharingbrook, West Kimball, Westbank.

Bluemont: Blue River, Bluehills, Bluemont N, Flinthills, Tuttle Cove (Deep Creek North, Deep Creek South, Dempsey, Fairmont, KS-177, KS-177 South, Lafayette, Lake Elbo, McDowell Creek, Military Trail, Moritz, Pillsbury Crossing, US-24 North, US-24 South, Zeandale).

Frank Bergman: Candlewood, Cedar Creek, Colbert Hills, Ft. Riley South, Little Kitten North, Manhattan Ave. South, Marlatt West, Redbud, Riverchase, Tuttle Creek Blvd. West (Amherst).

Lee: College Heights, Garden Way, Grandview, Jardine, Scenic Dr. E, West Anderson, Westwood (Brookville, Colonial Gardens, Country Meadows, Pebblebrook).

Marlatt: Browning S, Hillview, Meadowood, Rogers, Sargent, Seaton, Seth Child North, Tatarrax (Rocky Ford, Tuttle Creek Blvd., Valleywood).

Northview: Blue Valley, Butterfield, Dix, Knox, Nelson‚s Landing, Northview

Ogden: Airport, Eureka, Ogden, Random Woods (K-18 South, Sunrise West).

Theodore Roosevelt: Poyntz West, Stagg Hill East, Stagg Hill West.

Woodrow Wilson: Downtown, Green Valley N, Green Valley S, Timber Creek, Timber Creek East.

The plan, known as Map Q4, received the most favorable votes with 25 members supporting the plan at varying levels while receiving the least unfavorable votes with three members not supporting in some fashion.

Under the plan, the district would maintain the same Title I schools: Bluemont, Bergman, Lee, Northview, Ogden and Roosevelt. A school receives Title I status when the percentage of its population that receives free and reduced lunch is above the district average of 35.8 percent.

An area for concern for some is the amount of schools at or above target capacity. The target capacity for small elementary schools — Bluemont, Ogden, Roosevelt and Woodrow — is 246 students. The target is 472 students for large elementary schools: Amanda Arnold, Bergman, Lee, Marlatt and Northview.

Based on this year’s numbers, the plan includes Amanda Arnold at 103.8 percent of its capacity, Roosevelt at 103.3 percent and Woodrow at 106.5 percent. Many of the other schools follow closely behind with the exception of Ogden, which is at 82.5 percent of its capacity.

Krista Caffey, an Amherst parent, said the plan is likely not be sustainable with the target capacity numbers already above the max or within reach. “This is not going to last,” she said. “These schools are already at capacity or greater. There’s no room for growth.”

There was acknowledgement Thursday that the process will likely have to happen again in a few years when there might be a need for a new elementary school.

Walt Pesaresi, who served as a school board representative to the committee along with Curt Herrman, agreed with that assessment. He said the city’s increasing birth rate will be a factor in the need for a new school.

Board president Doug Messer thanked everyone for their work while also joking about the potential redistricting process in a few years. “If you enjoyed this, stick around,” he said.









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