In an effort to keep class sizes small, the Lancaster School District may move 64 pupils from Court Street School to Central Avenue School next year, the first of many possible changes as the growing district begins to ponder redistricting.
The transferred pupils would be from homes that are already close to Central Avenue School, Superintendent Joseph L. Girardi said Monday as he released a report on the subject to the School Board.
Included in the move would be children whose homes are on the streets of St. John, School and Clark, the western part of Broadway, Park Boulevard, Lake Avenue, Old Lake, Cayuga, Franklin, Church, Holland and Pleasant, west of School.
No action was taken Monday, but the board will take the issue up again on July 16, meeting in the high school in anticipation of a big crowd.
Girardi said the move may be necessary because of increased enrollment at Court Street School. Officials there expect enrollment to reach 490 by September, up from 456 this year and 413 last year.
Average class sizes there range from a low of 19.4 in kindergarten to a high of 27.5 in first grade. Although most of the class sizes are lower than 27 -- the average deemed acceptable by the state Education Department -- the numbers at Court Street are still larger than at Central Avenue.
With the added Court Street pupils, class sizes at Central would range from a low of 19.6 for first grade to a high of 23 for second grade, according to Girardi's report.
School Board members were nervous about the prospect of moving pupils, though -- not surprising given the turmoil that engulfed the district a few years ago when well over 100 pupils were moved from Court Street School to Sciole Elementary to relieve crowding at Court Street.
About that time the district also opened the $17.9 million William Street School for fifth- and sixth-graders and went from half-day to full-day kindergarten. Neither move seemed to bother parents, but the redistricting upset many who were angry that children were bused past three other schools to get to one in the northwest corner of town.
Board President Georgette F. Pelletterie said the district should anticipate that parents of the affected children will be worried about the move -- and that the board members should make sure they understand why the action is being considered.
"Been there," said Pelletterie, who first got involved with the district during the redistricting controversy. "From a mom's perspective, it's a sensitivity issue. You have to be extremely proactive and extremely sensitive."
The district has retained Peter Rogerson, a demographer with the University at Buffalo, to analyze the district's growth patterns and how best to deal with them in the future.
Girardi said he wants to deal with the issues at Court and Central schools soon in hopes of having the problem solved by the beginning of the coming school year.