Saturday, October 17, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Parents should Scrutinize School Redistricting Proposal Carefully

To Middletown Elementary School Parents, 

PLEASE show up on Oct 22nd at the high school for 7pm and show your support for finding an alternative to redistricting to help your elementary schools. The preliminary plans for redistricting are just that, preliminary. If you looked at plan E3 and saw you were not being moved and assumed you don't have to worry, that is not a good assumption. My husband Steve Roberts was at the meeting when they decided what plans they would present on Oct 22nd and it was very clear to all there that these were just a few options that got close to meeting the goals but did NOT meet the level of socioeconomic balancing the majority of the committee would like to achieve. They are looking at percentage of kids receiving free and reduced lunch and trying to balance these numbers across the 8 schools.

 Under their current proposals, plan E presented in the 9/14 slides better achieves this goal and moves over 800 kids at the cost of destroying current proximity to schools for families. Do know that they are still working on different plans and different plans will likely be presented on 11/7. Even if you thought you didn't need to be concerned about this because you weren't moving in the plans you saw, what about the 450-800+ other kids and families who would be forced to move from their school? I truly hope some better voluntary movement can occur to support the overcrowding at Farm Hill for next year and in the meantime we can be more creative in determining how to bridge the achievement gap with preschool, after school help and summer school assistance.

Also, please note that NO elementary school is currently out of racial balance at this point, and the state of CT has not asked that anything be done to balance the schools. Since we have time as we are NOT out of balance yet, please come on the 22nd and ask that a forced redistricting not be recommended and ask the committee to pursue a more voluntary approach to promote more balance. Moving neighborhoods all over puts a lot of stress on all the families involved and my sincere hope is on the 22nd we can convince the redistricting committee to go back to the drawing board and reconsider the plan to do this.


Catherine Roberts, Middletown

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