Oldham parents question school redistricting - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Oldham parents question school redistricting

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GOSHEN, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Some Oldham County parents worry that changing schools could hurt their kids, their wallets and their homes.

They took concerns about re-districting to school district leaders in the third of a first round of open forums at North Oldham High School Thursday night.

Oldham County parents walked from the cafeteria to the classroom to have their first say about redistricting.  Property values and test scores are chief among their concerns.

For more than an hour, they became parents as students in a North Oldham classroom -- asking questions about their children's performance when the district redraws attendance boundaries for the 2014-15 school year.

"If you're having to move somebody to a different school, try to keep them at a similar performing school or a better performing school," suggested parent Phil Young. 

Oldham County schools will change the boundaries to make room for 340 students from Liberty Elementary School.

Liberty will close after the 2013-14 school year because it is outdated and costs too much to maintain.

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade might have to change schools, as attendance boundaries are realigned to ensure schools are not overcrowded.  The changes to elementary schools could result in an 85-87 percent capacity over nine buildings, Oldham school officials have said.

"Our children are going to receive an excellent experience regardless of what school they are in," said superintendent Will Wells.

School leaders wrote down each of the questions.

The worry about test scores ties into another concern -- declining property values if students are assigned to lesser-performing schools.

"While you can get a fine education here, you choose your neighborhood by your preference for your school. And that's why you're here," said parent and recent Oldham homeowner Bekki Livingston.

"We just bought a house two years ago. If we already can't sell it, if our house value, property value falls exponentially. We have quite a few pieces of property in our neighborhood for sale that won't be able to sell depending on where they put our kids," said parent Jen Desmith.

Parents from Glen Oaks, Hillcrest, Moser Farms and Reserve Estates of Sleepy Hollow have banded together to lobby school administrators and the school board.  They claim 350 mostly elementary students in their subdivisions and want to see them remain at Goshen Elementary School.

Schools' ties to the community go beyond the classroom.  Concerns also include school bus ride times and various youth activities.

"PTA, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, all those types of things are all going to be hit," said parent Amy Witzke.

The written records of parents' questions now go back to the school district for review.

First answers and preliminary attendance maps should be available at a second round of public forums in May, with further parental input due in September.  A final decision from the school board is scheduled for late November.

Parents can ask questions online as well.  The Oldham County Schools website www.oldham.k12.ky.us/redistricting, features calendars of upcoming forums, current district maps and FAQs.

The Oldham County school board decided to close Liberty Elementary and to shelve a new elementary school building project because of forecasts that enrollment and revenue will decline in the future. 

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