Redistricting in Fairfield: Not Pretty

I don't usually get involved with this kind of stuff, but a reader from Fairfield asked me to post a  link to this petition, so why not?


There's no reason this blog has to be all me me me.  Got something to share? Just let me know and in most cases I'll be happy to post it, as long as it's relevant to parents in Fairfield County. 

Here's the issue, in a (really long) nutshell, verbatim from the Fairfield reader: The Board of Education is rushing into a 5 school mini-redistricting on the east side of town in order to solve a temporary problem at Stratfield School. The school is being renovated and during that time, it would be ideal to move 4 sections of kids out of the school.

In response to that short term need, the BOE put together a 5 school permanent redistricting plan in 4 weeks. It turns out that:

- McKinley School will be pushed to near capacity, completely ignoring the need for smaller class sizes at that school. Just 30 McKinley kids will get moved to a new school.
- Burr, which has one of the highest likelihoods of private -> public transitions in town, will be just 3 students away from having to move art and music into the cafeteria.
- Jennings will "just" transition 25% of their students out and 25% in.
- Stratfield will get divided down the middle of a road so that 80 kids can be moved out permanently even though the problem is related to construction.
- Historically, at least one school per year gets hit with an oversize K class. When that happens to Burr NSS, or McKinley, we will be right back in this discussion again.

The BOE is unwilling to wait to make this move, despite the fact that:

- They haven't worked the numbers properly.
- In tough economic times, neighborhoods and schools and proximity is important.
- They don't have the support they should have in order to do this.
- There's no fire. And yet, we're turning on all the faucets.

Why does this matter to the west side of town? Why does this matter to the moms of newborns and toddlers? Because Cathy Albin read a list of how many times they have redistricted over the years. Every few years, the BOE shuffles kids around - or tries to. If you speak to people who grew up in Fairfield, some of them went to 3 elementary schools. And it is still the same. Make no mistake, until the residents of Fairfield stand up and demand long term planning, those newborns and toddlers will be in the same situation eventually.

There is neither good reason nor good plan. The residents of Fairfield deserve better than this.

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