Board of Education responds to redistricting concerns

To the Editor:

Redistricting students from one school to another is often an emotional and difficult time for those families that will be affected. Keeping that in mind, the Board of Education must consider all scenarios and evaluate all circumstances prior to making its final decision on redistricting.

We have been dealing with overcrowding and portable classrooms, as well as art and music on a cart in our elementary school, for a number of years now. Frenchtown Elementary School is currently bursting at the seams, while Middlebrook Elementary has many vacant classrooms.

The goals set forth by the Board of Education and guidelines given to the Elementary Enrollment Committee were to:

• Eliminate portable classrooms and make all buildings safe and secure.

• Maintain class size guidelines to afford students more instructional opportunities.

• Phase out music and art on a cart.

• Mitigate, to the best extent possible, the number of students that would need to be redistricted to another elementary school.

The recommendations offered by consultants retained by the Board of Education meet all the aforementioned goals. The scenarios provide that all portable classrooms will be eliminated at the end of this school year. Music and art on a cart will be completely phased out in all elementary schools by the end of next school year. To achieve these goals, some students will need to be redistricted from Frenchtown into available classroom space at Middlebrook Elementary School. Staff and other resources for these schools, as in all our elementary schools, will continue to be proportionately distributed based on the school’s total enrollment and student need.

The Elementary Enrollment Committee that reviewed all of the consultant’s proposals was made up of parents, administrators and three Board of Education members, all of whom are retired elementary and middle school principals who have dealt with redistricting in their respective professional careers. The administrators that served on the committee are not currently administrators in our elementary schools and the parents chosen do not have children in our elementary schools. This makeup was designed to ensure that all recommendations put forth to the board would be fair and reasonable and not made based upon personal preferences.

All seven members of the Board of Education unanimously support the need for redistricting and appreciate the magnitude and impact this will have on some Trumbull families. That being said, we are moving forward to consider the recommendations that have been presented to us by the consultants and the committee. We will continue to focus our efforts supporting the best interests of students, parents, teachers and overall educational objectives of the Trumbull Public Schools while ensuring a seamless transition of students form Frenchtown to Middlebrook Elementary School.

Trumbull Board of Education members

Deborah Herbst, chair, Loretta Chory, vice chair, Rosemary Seaman, secretary, Jeffrey Donofrio, Susan LaFrance. Joseph Peddle, Michael Ward