Some Carmel Clay elementary students are going to be a new school next year.
Carmel Clay School Board members unanimously passed the redistricting plans at last night’s meeting. Plans and discussion for redistricting started last autumn in the district after growth on the west side of the city caused several elementary schools to become overcrowded.
“We’re going to have tight enrollment in some places across the district,” said board president Tricia Hackett. She said that the 500-550 open seats across the district and projected growth were not enough to justify using funding to build a new school.
The redistricting process itself this time around used parent advisory councils as liaisons between administrators and parents and to communicate changes and developments in the plans and looked to move between 600-1000 students at any point during the process.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Swensson in an earlier proposal recommended to the board that they approve the plan, and offered only a few possible amendments, including returning Saddlecreek south of 141st Street to College Wood Elementary and returning Aberdeen Bend, Hayden Run, and Wexley Chase to West Clay Elementary. Swensson also proposed that Spring Mill Ponds return to Smoky Row Elementary.
Board member Greg Phillips made an amendment in last night’s meeting which moved Spring Mill Ponds to Carmel Elementary and the Thistlewood neighborhood to Smoky Row. His motion carried 3-2, and followed with a unanimous decision by the board to approve the redistricting plan.
“I think it was a much improved process this year,” said Steve Dillon, Director of Student Services and the redistricting committee chair. “We always want to get better in all we do. I think we were certainly transparent, listened to a lot of concerns and community members and people had a chance to have their say. Was it an emotional process? Yes. But that part is always there.”
Now that the mapping process is finalized, administrators will begin the next phase of implementing the changes. Making sure students and their families have plenty of opportunities to get comfortable with and visit their new school, and preparing teachers and administrators for the changes will help wrap up the process and school year.
Some older students will be given the option of ‘grandfathering’ or staying in their current school for their final year. Bus routes are also going to be considered and redrawn to accommodate the changes and maintain the board policy that no student is on the bus longer than 45 minutes.
To learn more about the plan and see new maps visit www.ccs.k12.in.us.