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Redistricting plans receive early viewing

Orchard Park School Board members got an advance look over the weekend at several new redistricting plans for elementary school pupils.

Details of the new plans are to be presented to the board at Tuesday night's meeting in South Davis Elementary School.

"The biggest challenge has been to move the fewest children possible and to accomplish the goal and to bring the numbers into balance for the long term," Superintendent Joan D. Thomas said.

A plan presented to the board in September by the realignment task force would have moved 667 children to balance enrollment. Under that plan, each of the four schools would have been at 90 percent to 95 percent of its ideal capacity.

But on Oct. 23, the School Board asked Thomas to tweak that plan and come back with at least two others for consideration.

"The entire board felt we were moving too many [pupils]," board President Donald Sniezak said.

Thomas said administrators worked several hours each day on coming up with new plans.

"Everybody has basically continued to do the work they're supposed to do but also worked on this," she said.

Thomas said that first she amended the original plan.

"Then we looked at two more plans," she said. "One didn't produce what I thought were the desired results."

Sniezak said board members were given the plans over the weekend to review before they are explained during Tuesday's meeting. There are more than three plans, he said, and they address grandfathering fifth-graders into their existing elementary schools.

"I've also asked the board members not to make any decisions yet before hearing the presentation," Sniezak said.

When the plans are presented, board members will fill out rubrics to help them evaluate each one, he said.

"Possibly," Sniezak said, "two will bubble to the top."

He expects that the board will schedule a forum for public input Nov. 19 and a meeting to decide on a plan by the end of November.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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