Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Parents happy vote delayed on boundaries


Lakota plans new elementary lines

BY SUE KIESEWETTER
Enquirer Contributor

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Parents in the Lakota Schools who don't want their children to change elementary schools say they are pleased the school board postponed a decision on a redistricting plan.

        It will, they say, give them an opportunity to talk with those who drew up the plan, and board members who will vote on it April 12.

        Dates, times and locations of the public meetings will be announced today or Thursday, Superintendent Kathleen Klink said Tuesday.

        “It's a start. At least they didn't approve it Monday,” said Michelle Lockaby, a parent who is part of a group that has gathered nearly 100 signatures on petitions opposed to the plan. “Maybe we still have a chance.”

        A vote on redistricting had been scheduled for Monday but the board tabled it after listening for nearly an hour to comments from angry residents who didn't want their children to change schools.

        Parents said they didn't have adequate notice of the plan or a chance to comment before the board's scheduled vote.

        Under the proposal, children in five subdivisions in the Cherokee Elementary School attendance district would move to Liberty Elementary next August to ease overcrowding at Cherokee.

        Children from Freedom and Union elementary schools would move to Adena to ease overcrowding at Freedom.

        Doing so would reduce Cherokee's fall enrollment from a projected 907 students to 767, according to material prepared by school officials.

        At Freedom, enrollment would drop from a projected 850 next fall to 738.

        The changes would increase Liberty Elementary School's enrollment from 478 to 618. At Adena, enrollment would jump from a projected 682 to 799.

        The proposal affects nearly 300 children in this southeastern Butler County district of 14,139.

        “We'll get a chance to talk to them. I hope they're not closed-minded. I still hope they will rethink the issue and redraw the lines,” said Theresa Shearer.

        “My daughter has a warm, loving environment there. She's thriving. She gets what she needs there. I don't want her to move.”

        Cherokee Principal Elizabeth Spurlock said she understands parents' concerns but is convinced the redistricting is in the best interest of the children. Average class size in her building is 24.6, compared with 22.1 at Liberty.

        Parent Debbie Harm doesn't agree with the proposal but has already taken her daughter, Sarah, on a weekend picnic at Liberty Elementary to show her where her new school might be.

        Sarah attended kindergarten at Liberty. The following year she moved to Cherokee under a previous redistricting.

        “It's a probable move. I'm not happy about it. I don't agree with it,” Ms. Harm said Tuesday. “But I can't allow her to go in thinking it's a horrible thing. It's not.

        “They are all good teachers and good administrators there. I have to move on. Otherwise it gives my daughter the wrong message.”

       



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