Board discusses boundary options

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Assistant Superintendent for Operations Lori Ames and Director of Communications Perry Hibner led a discussion about the internal boundary process and the options that were forwarded by the Internal Attendance Boundary Committee for consideration at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 2.
Ames reminded the Board the boundary committee held 14 meetings and considered more than 20 potential elementary options and six middle school options. Ames noted the committee reviewed the current boundaries, enrollment projections, building capacity, impact on transportation and the impact boundaries have on student and family engagement over the past eight months.
Hibner noted the committee received more than 400 pieces of unique feedback via an online form. The District also held two community forums in October that committee members were expected to attend and hear thoughts from residents about the options still being considered. Hibner also provided an oral summary of feedback at the start of each committee meeting since June. All of that feedback has also been shared with the School Board.
District representatives also solicited information from a number of neighborhoods at the request of the committee and brought in principals from four schools to share information about support that has been put in place to help all students but particularly those in marginalized areas.
Ames noted there have been questions regarding Title I and achievement gap reduction (AGR) funding that Sauk Trail receives and concerns among residents that those dollars could  be reduced by boundary changes. Title I funds are allocated to districts based on data from the US Census Bureau related to poverty rates overall, not an individual school's free/reduced numbers. Because of this, the District does not lose funds if Sauk Trail's specific free/reduced numbers decrease. Sauk Trail also receives AGR funds which are used to keep class sizes at a low level. In order to continue receiving these funds, Sauk Trail must have a free/reduced percentage of at least 30 percent and Sauk Trail's free/reduced percentage exceeds 30 percent in all of the options forwarded from the committee.
Ames then reviewed each of the two options forwarded by the committee for consideration. She then reviewed the middle school option forwarded by the committee for consideration.  
Board members requested new maps and dashboards, which include demographic information, in case Neighborhood 37E was moved back to Sunset Ridge instead of going to Northside and if Neighborhood 38 was moved back to Park instead of going to Sunset Ridge. The Board also requested new maps and dashboards if Neighborhood 70 was moved to Kromrey instead of staying at Glacier Creek and Neighborhood 24 was moved back to Glacier Creek instead of going to Kromrey.
The Board indicated they plan to vote on elementary boundaries at their next meeting on Dec. 16. The Board will also include an action item about a possible vote on the middle school option, although there was some discussion about delaying that vote until January.
The Board held a listening session for residents to share their thoughts about the boundary options. More than 20 District residents spoke and the session lasted approximately 1 hour.