Saturday, July 20, 2024

SLAM Study Shuffles School Children in Stratford: Part II

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Middle Schools

By Barbara Heimlich
Editor

Source:  SLAM Presentation to Board of Education Meeting on April 4th

The Board of Education redistricting committee (Plant and Planning) has received and reviewed five scenarios presented by SLAM based on a comprehensive capacity and utilization study. These scenarios aim to address our district’s needs while adhering to guiding criteria, including improving racial balance, compliance with state law, enrollment balance, better school utilization, and ensuring even feeder patterns for middle and high schools.

The BOE Plant/Planning Committee held a Special Meeting on Thursday, April 11th. At this meeting, the committee discussed the scenarios and recommend two for consideration by the full board.

After the April break, there will be two public forum sessions where you can voice your thoughts, ask questions, and provide feedback. Your engagement is crucial in shaping our district’s future.

Stay tuned for updates on the public forum sessions. Let’s work together to ensure our community’s needs are met.

  • School Reassignment Part 2 – Middle School
  • Middle school enrollment is projected to decrease by about 6% over the next decade.
  • High school enrollment is projected to experience a decrease of 12%, or ~275 students.
  • Middle School utilization is projected to average about 70% over the next decade, with Wooster having a higher utilization (79%) than Flood (62%)
  • Not enough classroom space at the middle schools to support a 6-8 configuration.
  • Imbalanced feeder pattern with more students residing in the Wooster MS and Stratford HS feeder (55%) compared to Flood MS and Bunnell HS (45%).
  • Greater number of middle school students attend the smaller building at Wooster, while the larger building at Flood is underutilized.
  • Significant number of administrative placements at the high school level in order to balance enrollment.
  • Changes to the elementary attendance zones could better balance enrollment at the middle and high schools.
  • About 67 7th grade students would be impacted by redistricting (includes out of area placements)
  • Shifts slightly more students into the Flood Attendance Zone.
  • Wooster would remain the larger of the two middle schools, but enrollment between the two schools is more balanced than under status quo (53%-47% split over the next five years)

MS Enrollment and Utilization Trends

                     1st 5-Year Average          2nd 5-Year Average

School         Enrollment   Utilization    Enrollment   Utilization

Flood            462                63%             461                63%

Wooster       529                78%              505                74%

Excludes districtwide special programs and out of district placements

Middle School Feeder Pattern

Modified feeder pattern needed to better balance enrollment at the middle and high schools due to the reconfiguration of Chapel (one fewer school in Flood and Bunnell feeder)

  • Smaller Franklin moves to Wooster and Stratford attendance zone
  • Larger Nichols moves to Flood and Bunnell attendance zone
  • About 147 7th grade students would be impacted by redistricting (includes out of area placements)
  • Shifts more students into the Flood attendance zone.
  • Loss of walking community around Wooster
  • Wooster would remain slightly larger than Flood (52%-48% split over the next five years)
  • Slightly worse racial balance compared to today, but both schools within 10% of districtwide average.
CriteriaScenario 1
Enrollment BalanceAll Schools below 95% utilization All schools within +-6% of districtwide utilization
Balanced MS & HS FeederFeeder pattern balance is improved with ~53%-47% split at the MS and HS level
Racial BalanceAll schools compliant with racial balance laws. Three schools would deviate from districtwide average by more than 15%
Redistricting Impacts12% of ES students redistricted 3% of MS students redistricted 7% of HS students redistricted
Geographic ProximityGeographic proximity improved. Would increase the number of walkers.
Transportation ImpactsWould likely result in need for fewer busses
Out of Area PlacementsNeed to maintain administrative placement policy at Lordship
  •  
  • Utilization balanced at the elementary level with all schools within +-6%
  • Largely maintains the neighborhood-based model, with minor adjustments.
  • Enrollment balance is improved at the MS and HS level, but even split is not achieved.
  • All schools would be compliant with the state racial balance law. However, three schools deviate from districtwide average by more than 15%.
  • Most efficient scenario from a transportation standpoint.
  • Reduces the number of administrative placements, but need to maintain policy at Lordship.
  • Creation of 6th Grade Academy
  • Chapel selected as the conceptual location for 6th Grade Academy
  • Size/capacity of facility is optimal for 6th grade cohort size
  • Relatively small student population minimizes redistricting impacts
  • Introduces a new transition for 450 to 500 students
  • All SPS students would come together for one year before being split for MS and HS.
  • Will require additional buses and would possibly impact bell times due to location in the northern-most part of town.
  • Long travel times for students who live in southern part of Stratford.

SLAM presented 5 Scenario’s to move our schools into the future. The 65-page document will be broken down into segments for publication so that all of the information is able to be reviewed. We began with Scenario 1 for Elementary Schools.

For those interested in reviewing the document and listening to the on-line video please go to:

Video: https://youtube.com/live/pUfJ-jwkbHo?feature=share

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