Parkway Rolls Out Bounday Shuffle To Parents
About 180 students will be moved to alleviate overcrowding in North area elementary schools.
Parents had their first glimpse Monday night of the Parkway School District’s proposed plan to reduce overcrowding at Craig, McKelvey and Ross Elementary Schools. The plan was presented by Assistant Superintendent Desi Kirchhofer to a crowd of about 50 parents at Craig Elementary.
After months of work, the proposal would shift about 180 elementary students primarily to River Bend Elementary, which has a current enrollment of approximately 230 students. Northeast Middle and North High schools may be impacted by the changes in the future.
The boundary changes will be presented to the Board of Education, and the board members will decide to approve or disapprove of the plan.
“The proposal, which will be presented to the Board in November, supports the district goals and addresses the overcrowding at Craig, McKelvey and Ross,” Kirchhofer said. “It places schools close to the desired enrollment numbers, balances enrollments in schools of similar size and is sustainable over the coming years. And it supports the Board’s guideline of maintaining neighborhood schools,” he said.
Kirchhofer assured parents that fifth graders would be “grandfathered” at their current schools but transportation would not be provided by the district. Middle and high school students can remain at their current schools if space is available, but families also would be responsible for the student’s transportation.
Principals from the affected elementary schools, North and Central secondary schools, board members and Superintendent Keith Marty attended the forum and were available to answer questions after the meeting.
“My children won’t be moved because of the boundary changes, but I am concerned about my middle schooler,” said Holly Collector, a Craig Elementary parent. “He goes to school with kids from four elementary schools and I wonder how the changes will affect where his friends will attend high school. I’m not sure I have an answer about that,” she said.
Jennifer Bochantin has two children who will continue to attend Craig.
“I was surprised to find that we have a school nearby that has such a low enrollment,” Bochantin said in reference to River Bend. “Right now our cafeteria is so crowded students have to eat quietly and sit with their class at lunch. Moving some students should make things better here.”
The district expects to move about 70 students from Craig Elementary.
“We will move about 100 students,” said Kim Cohen, principal at McKelvey Elementary.
The crowding is largely an issue of space for instruction she said. Many classrooms are small and some staff members work out of remodeled closets. Programs like ESL and gifted education meet in common areas. Because of its large enrollment, 610 students, McKelvey’s lunch periods run from 10:50 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cohen said her staff does what is best for the students.
“We have creative scheduling and we do what it takes to reach our students. The boundary adjustment will allow us to fully and properly utilize the building for the students,” Cohen said.
Many parents in attendance had a wait-and-see approach to the boundary changes.
“I don’t know if any of our friends will be attending other schools,” Bochantin said. “I’ll be making some calls tonight. But I do think it will give more space to the kids and staff here.”
Additional information on the boundary changes at can be found at www.parkwayschools.net/boundaries. A second meeting will be held at McKelvey Elementary tonight at 7 p.m.
More forums are planned for next month.