Sylvania schools should begin immediately to consider redistricting elementary school boundaries or take steps to construct an elementary school in the western portion of the district, according to a recent study.
Alix Greenblatt, who chaired the redistricting committee that wrote the report, also urged school board members and administrators to consider different approaches to placing children in designated school buildings. The panel is part of the Sylvania school board's Facilities and Land Use Committee.
She said committee members recommend possibly grouping children by grades rather than by the most convenient location. Mrs. Greenblatt said some elementary buildings could be designated for children in kindergarten through second grade and other buildings for those in the third through fifth grades.
There could be a more coherent atmosphere in buildings where all of the children are of a similar age and learning at a similar level.
She said that plans for redistricting should begin immediately, unless the board intends to build a new building.
The committee decided against making specific suggestions about changing district lines, “although we're ready if that's what the board wants to do.''
The committee pointed out that all of the district's elementary buildings are overcrowded even with most of them using portable classrooms.
She noted that the overall enrollment in the school district has remained relatively constant, but the requirements for special education services have changed.
Areas are needed both for remedial classes and those geared to children deemed to be gifted and talented.
She acknowledged that with all of the elementary buildings being crowded, the goal of redistricting would be to even the population rather than to fill in vacant spaces at underutilized buildings.
The space crunch could become greater now that administrators have said they will support a pilot program for all-day kindergarten next year, and that it could grow into a system-wide program.
Mark Luetke, president of the Sylvania Board of Education, said there is no question that the system's buildings are being fully utilized and that the largest problem is in the western portion of the district where most new housing development is under way.
He pointed out that Highland Elementary School has five fifth-grade classes and Whiteford Elementary School has only two fifth-grade classes.
Mr. Luetke said board members also have to keep in mind that some parents don't want their children to be moved to a different school.
Although Highland is crowded, “I've had parents call me and say that they moved within Highland's district, because that is where they wanted their child to go to school.
Mr. Luetke said the redistricting group's findings will be considered as a whole, probably later this month. Other committees studied programs, land use and facilities.
Once the final report of the Facilities and Land Use Committee is submitted later this year, the board likely will take the findings to the public for their consideration, he said.