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Published: Tuesday, 3/30/2004

Sylvania school board OKs realigning elementary boundaries

Aleca Kamilaris, son Andreas, 5, and friend Trudy Cox hear the new plan, in which Andreas will stay at Highland Elementary. Aleca Kamilaris, son Andreas, 5, and friend Trudy Cox hear the new plan, in which Andreas will stay at Highland Elementary.

After more than a month of often-contentious debate over boundaries for Sylvania's elementary schools, the school board adopted a different, more modest plan last night.

The board unanimously accepted Superintendent Brad Rieger's recommendation that calls for a general shift in boundaries to the east of the district's three northern elementary schools. The plan affects far fewer students than would have been moved under earlier proposals.

The school with the most severe crowding, Highland, will have about 100 fewer students next year. Current Highland students who live in three subdivisions in the King and Brint roads area will be moved to Maplewood Elementary. The subdivisions are Woodstream, Pines, and Parklands.

Students from the Acres Road area, east of U.S. 23 and north of Alexis, who attend Maplewood will attend Hill View next year, according to the board's plan.

One of the most criticized proposals had recommended busing some children in the western part of the district past Highland so they could attend Maplewood.

Aleca Kamilaris, a parent who spoke against that plan at a

meeting earlier this month, said she is pleased with the new plan adopted at a meeting at Southview High School last night.

She lives in Twelve Lakes at Mitchaw Road and Sylvania-Metamora Road, and said her family moved there so their children could attend Highland.

Under the earlier proposal her children would have been sent to Maplewood.

Dr. Rieger said that part of the plan was dropped because of transportation costs and the difficulty of ever being able to end the practice without greater disruption.

He told the board and about 100 parents who attended the meeting that ... "my hope was that a long-term redistricting plan [of seven to 10 years] would emerge," but there are now too many variables for that.

Subdivisions will continue to be built in the western portion of the district, but the rate can't be predicted, he said. Elementary enrollment has been declining, and only one school is currently beyond its maximum capacity.

The new boundaries will affect about 5 percent of the district's students, Mr. Rieger said.

He said that fourth graders who would be shifted to a new school under the plan may choose to finish fifth grade at their current school.

Highland currently has an enrollment of 656 and should have about 550 when the next year begins, according to the plan. Hill View should go from its current enrollment of 352 to about 400 and the enrollment at Maplewood should increase from 366 to 380, according to district projections.

Kim Pietrykowski, whose youngest child will start junior high shool next year, said the plan satisfied her because it won't affect junior or senior high school boundaries.

Two mothers of Central Elementary School children, Karie Kutzly and Susan Rossiter, said they had opposed proposals to send Central pupils to Stranahan Elementary, but the adopted plan seemed the best way to alleviated crowding at Highland.

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