The Toledo Board of Education will host six public hearings this week to get feedback about a massive redistricting proposal released Monday morning that creates fresh attendance lines for a series of new K-8 neighborhood schools, preserves existing high school lines, and does not touch the district’s two academies and single-gender schools.
School officials said they would try, in most cases, to respect current out-of-district arrangements, meaning the roughly 6,000 students who have special permission to attend schools outside their districts will be left alone, said Jim Gault, interim chief academic officer.
Because of the plan to create new schools, attendance lines must be shuffled within each learning community to match student bodies with building capacity.
From 3,000 to 4,500 students will be affected in some way, either by attending class in a new building, or by remaining in the same building instead of heading off to a separate middle school. Under the redistricting plan, most students would simply stay where they are as they welcome new classmates and say goodbye to others.
The district hopes to save several million dollars on transportation because most students would be within the two-mile walking zone of their neighborhood K-8 building. The district will no longer have to drive students from the far corners of a learning community to a single centralized middle school.
School officials would not give an estimate of the potential savings, but the district’s current contract with TARTA to transport mostly middle school students is more than $1 million. The district’s seven middle schools are being retrofitted with smaller sinks and other infrastructure designed for the younger students.
The public hearings are scheduled by learning community: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Robinson Middle School and 7:30 p.m. at Woodward High School; Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Waite High School, 7:30 p.m. at Start High School; Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Rogers High School and 7:30 p.m. at Bowsher High School.
In addition to comments, parents and others will be given maps so they can draw suggestions. The district has acted on redistricting suggestions in the past, said Mr. Gault.
There are some major shifts in the learning communities, under the current proposed plan. Those shifts include:
- About 25 percent of Arlington Elementary students would go to Harvard Elementary and about 25 percent of Harvard students would go to Beverly.
- About 80 students in the Burroughs Elementary district would move into the Keyser Elementary district, which is the Rogers High learning community, But they would still be able to attend Bowsher High later if they want.
- About half of Spring and half of Sherman elementary school students would attend the new Leverette K-8 school. About 20 Riverside Elementary students would also go there.
- Lagrange Elementary will close and those students would attend Sherman.
- The new DeVeaux K-8 school would be seeded with students from Longfellow (75 percent) and McKinley (25 percent) elementary schools.
- Westfield Elementary would close and its students would attend the new Samuel M. Jones at Gunckel Park K-8 school, where some Pickett Elementary students would attend as well.
- Eastside Central Elementary would close, and most of the students would attend a new East Broadway K-8 school.