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A new plan emerges in Orchard Park Latest proposal moves 212 pupils

Orchard Park School Board members decided Tuesday night to look at one new elementary redistricting plan that moves 212 pupils.

The proposal, called Plan 212, moves fewer children than the plan presented by the Re-alignment Task Force, which would have moved 667.

"I like 212. It does move fewer students, and it does move into Windom only the students we need," said board President Donald Sniezak.

The board scheduled a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to hear comments from the public on the plan. Board members already heard from one member of the task force, who was not happy with the board's action.

"In the stroke of one evening, in spite of months and years of work, you have instantly, more or less, made a decision to throw out two-plus years of work," Brandon Cunningham said. "I think more interestingly, you came up with a plan based on expressed views from the public to move the fewest number of students, not necessarily what is the best solution to the problem."
The board plans to formally vote on the plan Nov. 27.

At Tuesday's meeting, board members listened to details of the four plans presented. The other plans would have moved 195 pupils, 414 pupils and 632 pupils. The board decided which plans it did not want to consider, eventually leaving just one option. Board members Maria Lehman and Steven Korn were not present.

Plan 212 would move 125 pupils in the Eaglebrook, Westgate, Cherokee and Camelot neighborhoods from Eggert Elementary to Windom Elementary. Another 55 from the Green Lake neighborhood would be moved from South Davis to Windom, and 32 pupils from the Murphy, Draudt, Newton, and Judith roads neighborhoods would move from Ellicott Elementary to Windom.

The plan moves 9 percent of the elementary population, should be viable through 2015, keeps neighborhoods together, and allows for the "grandfathering" of fifth-graders and their siblings in their current schools, Superintendent Joan Thomas said. It also produces the most favorable class sizes at the four schools, she said.

Cunningham criticized the plan for moving children in the Green Lake area to another school. That neighborhood was not slated to be moved under the task force plan.

"You came up with a plan that suddenly moves an entire neighborhood literally within a stone's throw from South Davis without so much as hearing one resident of that neighborhood," he said. Sniezak praised the work done by the task force, and said the amended task force plan presented Tuesday that would have moved 632 students was a very good plan.

"But the rest of the community did not like it," he said. "I thank the task force immensely. Their input was invaluable. I'm sorry we didn't choose their exact plan, but I think this is still the best plan for the children."

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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