Sunday, February 25, 2001

Schools may redraw districts


Boone Co. proposal moves 105 students

By Patrick Stack
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Monday night, the Boone County School District will get parents' input into a middle-school redistricting plan.

        The Boone Schools' Demographics and Growth Committee, along with the Boone County Planning Commission, proposed a redrawing of the middle-school boundaries about two weeks ago to spread enrollment more evenly among the district's four middle schools and plan for future students in Kentucky's fastest-growing county.

[photo] Nathan Myers (from left), Edward Pineda and Andrew Walker work on a lesson in an eighth-grade classroom with empty desks at R.A. Jones Middle School in Florence on Friday.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        The proposed boundaries would move about 105 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades next year at Ockerman, Gray and Conner middle schools into R.A. Jones Middle School in Florence, which administrators say is under capacity.

        Enrollment at the school is currently about 470 students, but Assistant Superintendent for Operations Mike Hibbett said the school can hold about 600 students.

        “We're trying to balance out the enrollment, because we have an almost overcrowded enrollment in one of our schools and the other has too few students,” Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said.

        The panels tentatively redrew the boundaries to move about 70 students from Ockerman Middle School and about six each from Gray and Conner middle schools into R.A. Jones, said Richard Griffith, director of pupil personnel.

        Ockerman currently has about 720 students. The school can hold about 770, Mr. Hibbett said. While the school is not currently overcrowded, it is approaching its limit and will continue to grow, he said.

NEW DISTRICT
    Boone Subdivisions Changed to the Jones District
    Community - Current District
    Mineola (Rolling Green Acres) - Conner
    Mineola/Ohara/Cox Roads - Conner
    Turfway Apartments - Ockerman
    Lt Utz Subdivision - Ockerman
    Daugherty and Taylor - Ockerman
    Colonial Estates - Ockerman
    Normandy Green (Apts) - Ockerman
    Alandale - Ockerman
    Ezra Fish (Shelby/Girard, etc) - Ockerman
    Downtown Florence - Ockerman
    Coludoth Heights - Ockerman
    Center Park - Ockerman
    Bradford (Florence) - Ockerman
    Liberty Square - Ockerman
    Bluegrass - Ockerman
    Denhams - Ockerman
    Town and Country - Ockerman
    Plantation Apartments - Ockerman
    Dream Street - Ockerman
    Mount Zion Apartments - Gray
    Haven Hill (New subdivision off Mt. Zion) - Gray
    Mt. Zion Rd. (Gunpowder to I-75) - Gray
        The rest of the affected students are currently in fifth grade at local elementary schools, he said.

        Students affected by the new boundaries were given a letter to their parents explaining the changes, Mr. Blavatt said. Parents of students not affected were not sent a copy of the letter, but copies of the proposal were placed in all middle schools, he said.

        “It's not a major move,” Mr. Griffith said. “This is basically designed to clean up some boundaries that we have, give relief to Ockerman and give help to declining enrollment at Jones.”

        Mr. Blavatt stressed that the new boundaries are only a proposal. Parents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions at the public meeting Monday. The panels will then consider parents' views before presenting the proposal to the school board, Mr. Blavatt said.

        “Nothing is definite at this point,” he said.

        The redistricting would not have a large effect on Conner Middle School, which currently has almost 1,000 students in a building Mr. Hibbett said can hold about 1,000. Gray Middle School currently has about 780 students, and Mr. Hibbett said the building holds about 800 students.

        Administrators hope to have a new middle school built by the 2003-04 school year, which they say will have more of an effect on Gray and Conner middle schools.

        “Doing (redistricting) now is important because we can do it (at this stage), and it does give relief to Ockerman,” Mr. Griffith said.

        The meeting, at 6:30 p.m. at R.A. Jones Middle School, is open to the public.
       



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