Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Lakota OKs plan for redistricting

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Students in Lakota Hills and Lakota Springs subdivisions will go to Liberty Junior High School in 2003 under a redistricting plan unanimously approved Monday night by the Lakota board of education.

        The decision was one of three possibilities the board has been studying since May 28.

        That's when concerned Hopewell Junior schoolteachers asked the board to reconsider its plan, which had been revised once already since its April unveiling during a series of community forums.

        The redistricting plan will take effect in about 14 months, when Lakota opens new elementary and junior high schools, necessitating a change in districts for thousands of students.

        About 60 percent of incoming seventh-graders will change junior high schools after one year. Affected students will have attended five different schools between sixth and 10th grade.

        “What I have wrestled with are the numbers,” said board member Dan Warncke.

        “In five years we'll be 22 students under capacity at Liberty Junior and 150 students at Hopewell Junior. That is a concern.”

        When the changes take effect, Hopewell Junior High will open its doors to 576 students, and 745 will go to Liberty Junior High.

        By 2007, projections call for 625 students at Hopewell Junior High and 878 at Liberty Junior High.

        “I think this area will eventually move,” said Joan Powell, a board member.

        “But it's not like it's going to happen tomorrow.”

        Over the next several months, a transition plan for those Lakota school seventh-graders who will change schools each of the next four years will be fine-tuned. The plan is scheduled to begin in August and continues through the 2002-2003 school year.

        It includes activities for students and their parents.

        School officials noted that redistricting is a fact of life in a fast-growing district.

        “A decision tonight is not a decision to eternity,” Mrs. Powell said.


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