When school starts this fall, students who would normally go to Nathan Hale Elementary will find themselves in new surroundings.
Because of significant facilities problems - the heating system that is about to fail - school officials here have for the 2012-13 school year and evaluate the situation.
Saying that they understand that this change could greatly affect the families in the neighborhood, where children are accustomed to walking to school, school officials will present a plan that calls for the relocation of the 221 students who attend classes at Nathan Hale to a nearby elementary school. Currently, nearly 24 percent of 290 students in the Nathan Hale neighborhood attend school in another area of town.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Richard Kisiel said that there are eight classrooms available to accommodate the transferred students and that classroom size will still be below the district wide limits, 25 for Kindergarten and 26 for the older elementary grades.
The current plan, prepared by the consulting firm of Milone & MacBroom, suggests that the best course of action would be to relocate the kindergarten through fourth grade students to Highland Park, Washington, Keeney and Martin. The fifth grade would be transferred to Bennet Academy. (View the plan in the attached Pdf.)
The breakdown for the K-4th grade is as follows:
- 49 to Highland Park
- 65 to Washington
- 47 to Martin
- 36 to Keeney
To help families ease into the transition, the Milone & MacBroom plan also outlines a series of programs and steps to familiarize the students with everything from riding the bus to hosting an orientation program at the new schools.
By making the change to relocate the students, the school board must also adjust the boundaries for two other schools in order to state in compliance with the State Mandated Racial Balance.
Consultant Michael Zuba told board members at their March 12 meeting that a minor boundary change should be made to address a racial imbalance at Verplanck and one that could be created at Buckley.
In the plan, Zuba proposes to send the 16 students who live in the Beacon Hill Apartments to Waddell instead of Verplanck. It also proposes to send 12 students who resident on Charis Road, Elvree Street, Karen Drive, Jamie Lane and from 700-1000 Parker St. and who currently attend the Robertson school to Buckley.
As school officials consider the plan, they must also consider what to do in the future. Over the past decade the the K-5 population has dropped from 3,508 in 2001-02 to 3,065 in the current academic year. Based on birth projections, Consultant Michael Zuba told school officials at their March 12 meeting that he expects that the K-5 student population to increase to 3,464.
For more information about the proposal thumb through the attached PDF and attend the March 29 public hearing, which will start at 7 p.m. in the Manchester High School auditorium.