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Final Redistricting Plan Would Move 370 Groton Elementary Students

Consultant to meet with the state next week; school board to vote on plan in January.

A consultant outlined the details of the final redistricting plan for Groton Public Schools Wednesday night, which would move 370 children, or about 18 percent of students in kindergarten through grade 4.

The plan would affect every elementary school, but even out school populations to reduce crowding and correct a racial imbalance to bring the district into compliance with state law.

More than 80 parents and school staff attended the meeting at Claude Chester Elementary School, where consultant Mike Zuba of Milone & MacBroom went over the details.

“We’re looking at the least intrusive redistricting possible that impacts the least number of families,” Zuba said. He said Groton would meet with the state next week to see if the plan satisfies the general guidelines for creating racial balance.

The Board of Education would vote to adopt or reject the plan in January.

Parents' concerns

Some parents told the school board and Interim Superintendent John Ramos they didn't like it.

They asked, why should children be bused across town because of race when parents are trying to teach their children to be colorblind? How does it help students to move them from a higher performing school to a lower performing one? What happens to working families whose children are moved to a school without an afterschool program?

“Is there a long-term plan to fix this?” said Jonathan Grossman, who said it looked like the district would face redistricting again in two to five years. His fifth grade son was moved from Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School to Claude Chester last year.

Under the plan outlined Wednesday, his son in kindergarten would be moved from S.B. Butler Elementary to Claude Chester.

“(How) is that serving our kids, taking them out of their neighborhoods, splitting them down the middle and moving them all over the place?” said Tammy Camerino, whose son in fourth grade would move from Claude Chester to S.B. Butler.

Camerino’s son walks to school, and she has been president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Claude Chester for three years.

Long-term plan

Town Councilor Bruce Flax said the school board needs to get going on a long-range plan. He said the town council tabled a motion Tuesday to set up a task force to develop a long-term plan for the schools, because school board members disagreed with who should lead the group.

"You guys (have) got to get this under control and we need to get this moving," Flax said.

Redistricting by street

Details of the new redistricting plan are below:

  • Students would move from Pleasant Valley Elementary to Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School if they live on Poquonnock Road, with an even number address from 352 to 404.
  • Students would move from Catherine Kolnaski to Mary Morrisson Elementary if they live on the following streets: Brandegee Aenue (even number addresses from 250 to 300), Colonial Drive, Constitutional Place, Liberty Drive, Madison Place, Mayflower Court, Mohawk Drive, Nathan Hale Road, Paul Revere Road or Pilgrim Drive.
  • Students would move from Catherine Kolnaski to Claude Chester if they live on the following streets: High Rock Road (addresses from 0 to 290), Shennecossett Road (even number addresses from 624 to 634), Thomas Road (even number addresses from 2 to 328 and odd number addresses from 25 to 215) or Branford Avenue.
  • Students would move from Pleasant Valley to Catherine Kolnaski if they live on the following streets: Benham Road (odd number addresses from 1 to 145 and even number addresses from 2 to 148), Bishop Lane, Chicago Avenue, Eastern Point Road (even number addresses from 22 to 50), Elderkin Avenue, Forest Street, Fred Avenue, George Avenue, High Street, Joe Avenue, Mariani Court, Mumford Avenue, Poquonnock Road (odd number addresses from 27 to 279), Tom Avenue or West Elderkin Avenue.
  • Students would move from Pleasant Valley to Mary Morrisson if they live on the following streets: Bridge Street (addresses 404 to 511), Litton Avenue, Litton Court, 360 Meridian Street, Meridian Street Extension (addresses 1 to 599), Poquonnock Road (addresses 309 to 351), Rainville Avenue, or Route 12 (addresses 170 to 360).
  • Students would move from Mary Morrisson to Pleasant Valley if they live on the following streets: Bliven Street, Bushnell Street, Day Street, Dewey Avenue (addresses 141 to 190), Fieldside Drive, Grove Avenue, Laske Street, Marquardt Lane, Mellow Avenue, Patton Court, Riverview Avenue, Seely School Drive, Senkow Avenue, Senkow Drive, Shannon Lane, Sperry Avenue, Tompkins Street, Troy Avenue or Walker Hill Road.
  • Students would move from Pleasant Valley to Charles Barnum Elementary if they live on the following streets: Crystal Lake Road (addresses 215 to 240), Murphys Drive, Pleasant Valley Road north (addresses 701 to 1101), or Route 12 (even number addresses from 894 to 1030).
  • Students would move from Charles Barnum to Claude Chester if they live on the following streets: Gold Star Highway (even number addresses from 422 to 652), Peters Drive, or Tollgate Road (addresses 458 and above).
  • Students would move from Claude Chester to Mary Morrisson if they live on the following streets: 600 Meridian Street Extension or 0 Ronald Road.
  • Students would move from Claude Chester to S.B. Butler Elementary if they live on the following streets: Central Avenue (even number addresses), Elizabeth Court, Flint Court, Gary Court, Hartford Court, Ivy Court, Joliet Court, Knoxville Court, Midway Oval (odd addresses from 1 to 159 and even addresses from 2 to 100), or St. Joseph Court.
  • Students would move from S.B. Butler to Claude Chester if they live on the following streets: Brookside Lane, Corey Road, Donna Drive, Fort Hill Road, Mark Trail, Meryl Court, or Ring Drive.
Christina Martini December 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM
So........ My going to be fifth grader stays put at Pleasant Valley and my going to be first grader moves to Katherine Kolnaski? This is a nightmare for a parent that does not drive. Also when events happen on the same night which child do you choose? I went through this in Norwich and it was incredibly difficult to coordinate between two schools. So not looking forward to this. What happened to the days when kids were just kids? I don't remember these issues when I was young. We all went to school together with no racial redistricting and we all seemed to make out ok.
Upset December 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I was at this meeting and it is a shame that the reporter Deborah Straszheim focused on the wrong points. Dr. Ramos started the entire night by saying the redistricting is to fix the overcrowding issue and it also addresses the racial imbalance. But even if the schools were racially balanced as of tomorrow, we would still have an overcrowding issue and that is what needs to be addressed. Also the Milone & MacBroom representative did a great job of showing how this plan puts neighborhoods back together, such as Midway Oval which is currently divided will be put back together. I think this is a good plan. We need change and we have to start somewhere, so yes this sucks for me and my 2 kids that will have to change schools, but it will be better for the future.
Alison December 14, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I disagree. I live on Meryl Ct and my neighborhood is split up. I'd rather keep it that way for the next two years my daughter will be in elementary school. We were all together in the past and then the town split us up. They cant keep changing their minds. Its not right!
Sara January 31, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Groton Public School isn't the greatest anyway, especially for kids that have special needs or in special education. I think they need to look more into that then moving the kids all over town. It's not fair for the kids but Groton doesn't care. Money talks right! You should think of the kids and not yourselves.

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