SOUTHINGTON — As school board members plan to renovate aging elementary schools, they are also considering a host of redistricting options that include closing Flanders School.
Board of Education members said they are a long way from determining the future of any schools and are just gathering information on enrollment projections, building utilization rates and class sizes.
Consultant Milone & MacBroom presented its findings and suggested six redistricting scenarios at the Thursday school board meeting. Proposals included redistricting elementary schools, closing Flanders and redistributing students to surrounding schools and redistricting the middle schools.
School board Chairman Brian Goralski said the information and scenarios are just a starting point.
“None of those models will be the final product,” he said.
Goralski hopes to have more information to the public and town officials this fall.
Flanders and Kelley schools have never been renovated and Derynoski hasn’t been significantly renovated since 1992. Before spending money on upgrades, Goralski said it is important to understand the district’s needs.
The study identified a 90 percent building utilization rate as ideal. Milone & MacBroom found that among the schools the district plans to renovate, Derynoski, Hatton and Strong had the most underutilized space while Thalberg, Plantsville and Kelley had the least. The study recommended shifting students to under-utilized schools.
Projections showed high school and middle school enrollment decreasing, but more elementary students over the next five years.
Consultants anticipated the need for space to accommodate elementary foreign language education and more science and technology programs. Based on enrollment projections, the district will also need nine more K-5 classrooms.
In some scenarios, elementary schools or middle schools were redistricted so students from an elementary school didn’t graduate to different middle schools.
Similar redistricting plans were also presented with and without Flanders School. If closed, students would go to surrounding schools such as Hatton, Kelley and Thalberg.
The scenarios can be viewed as maps online at https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=42cd71a29b91401b8a5977cd9d03f4f5&extent=-8127125.5016%2C5085884.2699%2C-8111952.7515%2C5117032.3589%2C102100.
On Thursday, board member stressed that no final decisions had been made.
“We have not decided to close any schools,” said board member Bob Brown. “We’re talking about it and getting information.”
Here are the six redistricting scenarios consultants Milone & MacBroom presented:
1.Minor changes to elementary district boundaries to better use existing space in buildings.
2.Eliminate Flanders School and better balance school utilization. Puts several schools above the target 90 percent utilization rate.
3.Redistrict elementary schools so that no school is split when graduating to middle schools. It puts schools below the target utilization rate.
4.Eliminate Flanders and redistrict elementary schools so that no school is split when graduating to middle schools. It would require adding space at some schools to accommodate Flanders students.
5.Adjust elementary and middle school boundaries to avoid split when graduating to middle schools.
6.Eliminate Flanders and adjusts elementary and middle schools boundaries to avoid a split when graduating to middle schools.
Source: Milone & MacBroom