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SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES NEW BOUNDARIES

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By Kenny Colston

After an 11-month process, the Oldham County Board of Education approved new redistricting maps for the district’s elementary, middle and high schools at its monthly meeting Monday.

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The unanimous approval will take effect during the 2014-2015 school year and was prompted by the closing of Liberty Elementary at the end of this school year.

The new plans, one for each level of schooling, affects the northeast portion of Oldham County the most.

That area, which currently sends elementary students to Liberty Elementary while splitting middle and high school age students between the North Oldham and Oldham County school campuses, will now be directed solely to Oldham County middle and high schools.

The change comes against the wishes of many in subdivisions in the northeastern corridor, namely the Sycamore Run subdivision, who have been vocal about wanting to stay with the North campus cluster of schools during public comment sessions with the school board during the last two months.

Parents living in that subdivision and others nearby pointed to figures that show OCMS and OCHS above capacity, while the NOMS and NOHS below capacity, as a main reason to keep them with the North cluster.

Michael Williams, the lead district official in charge of redistricting, told the board the population make-up of the county makes the secondary school redistricting more difficult.

“Where students live is the hardest thing to control,” he said. “To balance these schools in some instances you would have to move the boundary to the front door of OC or South High.”

And while some may not be happy with that change, Williams said the plans refuse to split any subdivision in half or break a subdivision away from a sister community.

Williams also said the plans improve the feeder system the school district uses to direct students from elementary to high school. The improved feeder system should also put an end to what Williams called “K through 12” buses, where elementary, middle and high school students catch the same bus in their neighborhoods before jumping on a new bus to get to the correct school.

In order to pacify some parents upset with how their students may change schools, Oldham County Superintendent Will Wells said those who want to transfer to one of four schools with available capacity (Camden Station and Centerfield elementaries and North middle and high schools qualify) could possibly do so due thanks to the reopening of in-district transfer, he told the board. But the school district also knew not everyone would love the final proposal.

“You can’t do something like this and not have someone disappointed,” Wells said.

Board chairperson Joyce Fletcher said she and other board members had struggled with the decision, but voted for the proposed plan to positively impact the district at-large.

“Considering what’s best for the whole district is what we’re charged with,” Fletcher said.

Wells said the district would post a frequently asked questions section on the district’s website within the next two weeks to help parents who want to apply for an in-district transfer or have questions on how the new redistricting plans may affect their child.

“We have confidence every one of our kids will be welcome with open arms at any of their new schools next year,” Wells said. “Our kids will be fine, we’re confident of that.”

 

 

Email us about this story at editor@oldhamera.com.