Multiple choices, one goal.
Families in the Manhattan-Ogden school district now have more options as district officials look to redraw attendance boundaries. Officials have posted three new redistricting maps on the district website for public consideration and review, with the goal of lowering the average number of children in elementary school classrooms and accommodating the new Oliver Brown Elementary School building when it opens to students in August.
Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid said these new maps take into account feedback received from the previous public redistricting meeting in November and weighs that input against the standards outlined by the board of education.
“For the first two maps we basically heard from three areas (of the city),” Reid said. “The areas that didn’t get changed or impacted, if they didn’t move elementary or middle schools, we didn’t hear anything from them.”
The biggest concern from parents was the possibility of having to bus their children to Ogden Elementary from Manhattan, to account for the opening of Oliver Brown. Reid said one of the board’s priorities in the redistricting process is building utilization, or how to bring those average class sizes down from nearly 30 children per classroom to 20.
“Any time you change anything, it makes some dominoes fall, and makes it where other things have to change, too, to keep the balance,” Reid said.
The public comment period for the trio of proposals runs until 5 p.m. on Jan. 22 and can be found on the same web page as the new maps, www.usd383.org/district/redistricting.
That page also includes a video from school planning consulting firm RSP and Associates which explains the refreshed options.
Reid said the first two maps presented to the public met the board’s criteria quite well, but these three new maps should attract some new comments, both positive and negative.
“It’s hard when you get shifted,” Reid said. “Nobody likes doing this, because it’s personal for our families, and I think people in the district understand that.”
The first pair of redistricting proposals expand the attendance boundary for Ogden Elementary along Scenic Drive, and north past Miller Parkway near Wildcat Creek.
(Option 1 has been eliminated.) Option 2 would split Blue Township between Oliver Brown and Bluemont, adding some areas near Warner Park and Amherst Avenue to Marlatt Elementary. Woodrow Wilson Elementary would take in some portions of what once belonged to Theodore Roosevelt Elementary, and further into the rural southeastern area of the district.
Option 3 has similarities to Option 2 but includes slicing the Wildcat Creek area along Scenic Drive in half. The western side would go to Bergman Elementary, and the eastern side to Amanda Arnold. Everything east of Wreath Avenue near Miller Parkway would go to Marlatt Elementary, and send more children from an area south of Elk Creek Road to Oliver Brown.
All the middle school redistricting proposals essentially split the district into two sections, meaning each elementary school would feed into a chosen middle school.
Eisenhower Middle School would get students from Lee, Bluemont, Northview, Theodore Roosevelt, and Oliver Brown elementary schools. Anthony Middle School would get students from Bergman, Marlatt, Amanda Arnold, Ogden, and Woodrow Wilson elementary schools.
The fourth map option features a few changes made after public input and boundary team meetings, including:
• Removing the island in the Miller Parkway area for elementary school students.
• Students living along Scenic Drive, Ledgestone Ridge, and Stone Pointe would stay in Manhattan, and would not be bused to Ogden Elementary.
• The neighborhood around Sunset Zoo would be switched back to Lee Elementary.
• The neighborhood around Eugene Ware would switch back to Theodore Roosevelt Elementary.
• An area east of Wreath Avenue and Four Winds Village would switch back to Amanda Arnold.
• Theodore Roosevelt would maintain the same current boundary, plus add some students south of Fort Riley Boulevard, and west of Manhattan Avenue.
• The middle school feeder system would stay mostly the same, except that Woodrow Wilson students would attend Anthony, and Oliver Brown students would go to Eisenhower.
Option 5 has the families around Tuttle Creek Lake who now go to Bluemont attending Marlatt, to help lower the class sizes at Bluemont and even out the numbers at Marlatt. It also moves areas around Scenic Drive to Woodrow Wilson and keeps the island south of Anderson Avenue and north of Miller Parkway at Lee Elementary. The south portion of Miller Parkway would be moved to Woodrow Wilson, while the feeder system into the middle schools would remain the same as Options 2 and 3.
Option 6 has the boundary for Bergman Elementary moved east of Seth Child Road, and moves Marlatt’s boundary south to take portions of Lee Elementary, the current Bergman island, and most of the Miller Parkway area. Other details of this proposal include:
• Shifting the Lee Elementary boundary to start further north by Tuttle Creek Lake and move south through the north farm of Kansas State University, as well as take up most of the current boundary near K-State.
• Moving the Whispering Meadows subdivision into Oliver Brown.
• Moving the Bluemont neighborhood along Tuttle Cove Road and the rural area south of Manhattan to Woodrow Wilson.
• The middle school feeder system for Option 6 would remain the same, but with a portion of Woodrow Wilson’s boundary near downtown Manhattan attending Anthony Middle School.
Reid said he would be remiss if he were to say one of these redistricting options would make everybody happy, because it won’t.
“It’s about choosing the best option and weighing all our standards, to find the best option for all kids moving forward, even though it might be different than what individuals prefer,” Reid said.
The board of education will receive and potentially approve recommendations from its boundary team on which option to utilize during the meeting Feb. 3.