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PARENTS REACT TO REVISING ATTENDANCE AREAS FOR PUPILS

Parents took the floor Monday night in the Clarence High School auditorium to tells the Clarence School Board what they thought of proposals to change the boundaries of elementary school attendance areas.

Most of the parents at the session before the regular board meeting worried about shifting youngsters from their established academic surroundings to locations that would require a lengthy period of adjustment.

Board members, still undecided on many issues connected with the redistricting, spent the session taking notes.

"As a board, we're here to listen to you," said James A. Powers, board president. "Let us know any concerns, or if there are any holes in the plan we're proposing. We want to make sure this plan will have some logic to it and that it can stand the test of time."

The proposal seeks to balance the enrollments of the district's four elementary schools.

Clarence Center Elementary now has 687 pupils, while at Harris Hill Elementary, located across town from many of the subdivisions that have taken root in Clarence over the past 15 years, has only 378.

The board hired Peter Rogerson, a University at Buffalo professor, to devise a workable plan that would minimize disruptions.

"Whenever boundaries need to be revised, we want to keep neighborhoods together and have a minimum number of students that are moving," Rogerson said.

"From the beginning, one of our main objectives has been to balance enrollment," he added. "But we want to keep the districts compact around each school."

The board still is considering an option that would allow all pupils now in elementary school to remain in their current building until they move on to middle school.

District administrators and board members devised the option, known as Plan Five, after a lengthy review.

"We went through a number of alternatives, but this is the plan that disrupts the least number of students," Powers said. "In a perfect world, we'd leave all students in a stable or constant situation for years.

"But overcrowding is a concern, and we have certain boundaries that the state sets for us. What we're doing is following the state guidelines," he added.

The board intends to make a decision on the option in February.

The new attendance areas are scheduled to take effect next September.

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