New school board policy clears way for redistricting

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By Drew Nichter

The Oldham County Board of Education has adopted guidelines that pave the way for students to redistrict.

Oldham County Schools’ officials plan to redistrict students of all ages before the 2014-15 school year.

The new policy, adopted Monday, states that school attendance boundaries will be drawn based on six factors identified as “desirable” by county residents.

The factors include:

• Students’ ability to attend neighborhood schools;

• Current elementary (K-5), middle (6-8) and high school (9-12) grade organization;

• Comprehensive programs;

• Reasonable school sizes;

• Open enrollment;

• A traditional 10-month school calendar.

The policy states that other factors may be considered, such as traffic patterns, prior redistricting and school feeder alignments.

The policy allows for students entering fifth, eighth or 12th grades for the 2014-15 school year to remain at their current school.

Future school redistricting will occur “as needed to reduce overcrowding and to establish attendance districts when schools are opened or closed,” according to the policy.

District officials have said lower enrollment and plans to close the district’s oldest elementary school have created a need for redistricting.

Director of Pupil Personnel Michael Williams told the Oldham County Planning & Zoning Commission Tuesday that enrollment growth, particularly at the elementary level, is stagnant.

The commission accepted OCBE’s recommendation of updating its student-growth ratio to 0.185 students per building permit. The ratio, based on three years’ average enrollment, is as low as it’s been in several years, Williams noted.

The impending closure of Liberty Elementary School means the new boundaries will focus largely on elementary students, although redistricting of middle and high school students will be considered as well.

The first in a series of public forums kicked off this week. The last of this round of forums is set for 6 p.m. today at the North Oldham High library. An online forum is open until April 12.

Future forums will be scheduled in May and August.

More information on the student redistricting process can be found at www.oldham.kyschools.us/redistricting or by email at redistricting@oldham.kyschools.us.

Email us about this story at: drew@oldhamera.com.