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Published: Thursday, 5/29/2003

New school districts possible in Sylvania


Although Sylvania's board of education has taken no formal action, members left little doubt that a committee will be formed to consider new school districts, at least for the elementary buildings, for the school year beginning in September, 2004.

Mary Himmelein, a board member, suggested that the group discuss the issues, which need to be addressed before establishing a board.

The need to change boundaries has been made clear by the increasing student population at schools primarily in the western part of the district.

In the coming school year, kindergarten sessions, normally held at Highland Elementary School, will move next door at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, because of crowded conditions.

Alix Greenblatt, who has been the chair of committees looking into redistricting, has pointed out that all of the district's buildings are crowded.

Overall enrollment in Sylvania schools has remained relatively constant at about 8,000 over recent years. However, requirements for the education of gifted students and those with special needs have created space problems.

A panel studying district facilities has recommended that the board consider building an elementary school in the western part of the district, where residential construction continues. Redistricting may buy the board some time before going to voters to seek funds for a new school.

Les Schultz, superintendent, agreed that redistricting might allow the system to operate more comfortably for a couple of years before the need for an elementary building becomes critical. What may be unfortunate for some families, he noted, is that some pupils, who have moved to another school, may have to be moved again if a new elementary is constructed.

Mrs. Greenblatt noted that although the effect of redistricting will be greatest in the western part of the school system, it will be felt in all the schools.

“If you take one out of Highland, they have to go somewhere,'' she said.

Mr. Schultz noted that the school board owns property north of Timberstone Junior High School at Sylvania Avenue and Mitchaw Road, which may be suitable for an elementary.

The facilities panel recommended that a committee be formed early in summer to determine new boundaries for elementary school districts so the board would have something to act on by early next year.

Action on the issue may be delayed, depending on the board's current search for a new superintendent.

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