School Board Approves Redistricting, New School Hours
The Elkhart Board of School Trustees approved redistricting, school bell, and busing changes that become effective with the start of the 2013-2014 school year. The changes are needed to offset a $2 million shortfall in the district's transportation budget that was caused by declining assessed property values and the state's tax cap legislation.
The school board's unanimous decision was made at an open meeting this morning, May 7.
Roosevelt and Hawthorne elementary schools, which currently serve grades K-2 and 3-6 respectively, will revert to K-6 schools, and 11 of the district's 14 elementary schools will have new school boundaries. There are no boundary changes at the middle school or high school levels.
All students will be effected by the new school start and end times. Middle school and high school students will have 10 minutes cut from their original schedule. Their school times will be from 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
One of the biggest benefits of the changes is that elementary students schedule will increase 70 minutes. They will attend school from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. The longer school day will provide more instructional time for science and social studies, as well as provide every student with at least one art class each week. Also, keyboarding will be added to the elementary curriculum. The new schedule will also allow for the continuation of the existing beginning band and orchestra programs.
Another change approved by the board is the elimination of busing for students currently on a "choice" transfer. These students will be allowed to continue at their choice school, but their parents must provide transportation.
Current fifth graders impacted by the boundary changes will be allowed to remain at their current building for their final year of elementary school if they apply for a transfer; however, their parents must provide transportation to the school. Siblings of these "grandfathered" students will attend their new neighborhood school.
The approved changes to school boundaries, combined with the new school starting and ending times, will allow the district to offset much of the substantial funding cut without increasing class sizes or cutting academic programs. The district will also save money by not replacing the positions of approximately 30 teacher and administrator retirees.
Click here to access maps of the new school boundaries and to see which school your child will be attending.