I was a little surprised looking over the Park Hill School Board agenda for last night. The redistricting schedule is going to move sooner and faster than I thought it would.
The criteria with which to evaluate the new maps was first released last night and the Board will approve it at the next meeting then the applications for members on the committee will open up.
Two comments about the criteria. Since the voters overwhelmingly approved the "no tax increase" bond package and given a mandate, we're getting multiple new buildings and there is no other way to sugarcoat the fact that kids are going to get moved all over the place. It makes total sense that "Minimal Attendance Area Changes" is the lowest weight of the criteria. Back in 2012 when they re-balanced the elementary schools, Line Creek lost half the school to Tiffany Ridge and while it was different, kids adjusted. Also, we lost half the teachers in the shuffle. This will happen in the middle and high schools so even if you think fighting to keep changes minimal, there is going to be change at the staff side and each school is going to become different.
Also, if you honestly look at the current maps, does it really make sense for someone who lives off 435/152 to drive all the way to Riverside for school or someone who lives at Waukomis and I-29 to have to drive all the way to Barry and Congress?
I do think "Transportation Distance and Safety" should be a high weight because with all of the shuffling that will occur, this is a once in a long time opportunity to set up future efficiencies in operational budgets and also make our kids healthier by creating boundaries that place the most kids possible within walking distance of schools. For example, right now, our kids cannot safely walk to Line Creek.
However, they could safely walk to Chinn. It wouldn't be very "green" or "LEED" to burn a bunch of gas driving a bus load of kids by a school to attend another school further away.
There will be a committee involved in the process and the draft makeup of that committee will be:
I was fortunate to serve on the 2012 committee and would like to assist with this effort based on my knowledge of the district. Hopefully the committee has the right people on it and there is enough institutional knowledge from 2012 that can be used to create better maps and we don't start off with maps that break up cohesive neighborhoods or have kids riding a carbon emitting, diesel emission spewing school bus to a "LEED" silver school.