Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

January 14, 2014

182 students facing redistricting

Plan aims for minimal impact at elementary level

A total of 182 elementary students living on 60 streets in town stand to be transferred to new schools under a redistricting proposal in fall 2015.

Those students are in addition to the youngsters who will be relocated with the eventual closure of Shawsheen School.

However, school officials announced last week that Shawsheen will remain a choice school for preschoolers through second-graders for an additional year. See related story, page 5.

The School Committee’s subcommittee on redistricting presented its latest plan to the full committee last Thursday.

It reflects the shuffling of students between elementary school zones as part of the upcoming opening of the new, expanded Bancroft Elementary School, which will have capacity for 680 students.

Under the redistricting plan, 113 students from West Elementary School and another 36 students from South Elementary would move to the new Bancroft.

In addition, 29 High Plain students would be transferred to Sanborn, while four would move from West to High Plain.

The School Committee is now taking public comment before a scheduled Feb. 6 vote on the proposal.

School Committee Chairman Dennis Forgue said the redistricting was accomplished by breaking the town into zones and adjusting those zones in an effort to have all five primary elementary schools at 93 percent capacity in the end.

The delicate process was aimed at moving “the fewest kids possible, to keep neighborhoods whole, meeting the 93 percent target and being mindful of the middle school assignments as well,” committee member Annie Gilbert said.

Mary Lu Walsh, district transportation coordinator, said the biggest change involved the relocation of West Elementary students to Bancroft.

“We moved very few pockets,” Walsh said. “I think I’m over by two in High Plain as of now, and there is room in South School and West Elementary. But you also want to keep neighborhoods together, too.”

The presentation capped months of work over the course of many meetings and work sessions attended by parents whose children stood to be affected.

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