One middle school option advanced

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The Internal Attendance Boundary Committee voted to advance one of the five middle school options to the Board of Education at their 14th meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Kromrey.

The committee voted to advance the Pope Farm Scenario. In that scenario, Neighborhoods 24, 25 and 26S would attend Kromrey, while the remaining Pope Farm neighborhoods would go to Glacier Creek. Neighborhood 24 currently attends Glacier Creek although under this scenario all Blackhawk neighborhood students would attend the same middle school.

Five percent of middle school students would change schools. Consultant Mark Roffers noted during a presentation of the middle school scenarios that in the Pope Farm Scenario those same neighborhoods would likely shift if the District builds a third middle school in the future.

The Board of Education will hold a listening session for residents on Monday, Dec. 2 starting at 6:30 p.m. at Kromrey. The Board will hold its regular meeting after the listening session ends and will discuss the two elementary options being forwarded by the committee along with the middle school option. The Board is expected to vote on new boundaries for the 2020-21 school year at its meeting on Dec. 16.

The committee first saw possible middle school scenarios at its meeting on Oct. 7.

Before members voted on the five middle school options at the Nov. 20 meeting, consultant Mark Roffers reviewed suggestions committee members had regarding the middle schools, including having dashboards for each scenario, providing multiple variations that might shift Neighborhood 70 to Kromrey, asking if families in Neighborhood 70 could pick which middle school they attend – which District administration noted would be very challenging -- and exploring a Sunset Ridge-West Middleton scenario.

Roffers then reviewed why middle school attendance areas needed to change. He noted neither Glacier Creek or Kromrey has enough capacity to take students from four elementary schools so with the District adding a seventh elementary school at least one elementary school would need to send students to each middle school. He also reminded the members that Glacier Creek is already over capacity and much of the anticipated enrollment growth at the middle level over the next few years is expected to be in the current Glacier Creek attendance area.

Roffers briefly reviewed questions regarding a third middle school, which could be built on the Pope Farm site. He noted the District would need time to plan for a referendum and it would likely take two years to get a school built even if the referendum was successful, which means a third middle school likely wouldn’t open before 2024-25 at the earliest. That means no current student who might have to change middle schools would be in high school before a new school would open.

In each of the middle school scenarios, Park students would move to Glacier Creek, while Elm Lawn, Northside and Sauk Trail students would move to Kromrey. Roffers then reviewed five scenarios for the three remaining elementary schools, noting if two elementary schools feed the middle schools it could result in fewer shifts from the current assignments, but also smaller groups from each elementary school feeding each middle school.

Roffers also noted middle school boundaries would be the same regardless of which elementary option, D3.1.3 or D3.7.2, is selected.

Of the five Pope Farm had the most support, while Sunset Ridge finished second and West Middleton third. Fourteen members indicated they preferred the Pope Farm scenario, while six preferred the Sunset Ridge scenario and two didn’t indicate a preference.

Facilitator Drew Howick then asked members if they wanted to offer any modifications to either the Pope Farm or the Sunset Ridge scenario. One suggestion was to move Neighborhood 26S to Glacier Creek. The committee voted in favor of making the modification. The committee decided to only forward the Pope Farm Scenario to the School Board.

Please visit the Internal Attendance Boundary Committee webpage on the District website to watch the meeting video or view the presentation from the Nov. 20 meeting, videos along with documents shared with members.