A consulting firm outlined a new version of the Groton school redistricting plan Wednesday that would move 522 children throughout the district and affect every elementary school to correct a racial imbalance and even out student populations across schools.
The Branford consulting firm Milone & MacBroom described the plan at a community meeting before an audience of about 35 people at Claude Chester Elementary School.
Northeast Academy parents
Several parents who spoke said they were upset about a neighborhood with 24 children that would be moved from Northeast Academy to Claude Chester Elementary.
Rebecca Beyus, the parent of a first grader at Northeast, said her son would be the only one in his class to be redistricted to Claude Chester. She said she was so upset she called a school board member and cried.
“How do you tell one little boy that he has to move schools and not a single friend is going with him?” she said, adding that the move is intended to fit a special program.
“That is just cruel. That is just harsh, and you can’t do that to kids. Put the special program somewhere else,” she said.
“These children will not have each other. They will be scattered,” said Jen Cosmopoulos, who has a son in third grade and twin daughters in kindergarten.
Fenty Lee, who has two children, including a third grader at Northeast, said the plan should consider the children first. She said her children think of themselves as American, not Asian.
“I am a minority. Think of a me as a number, OK,” she said.
Groton was forced to redistrict because the state cited the district for a racial imbalance at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School. The school had a minority population of 60.3 percent at the time it was cited; a school is considered racially imbalanced if the minority population is greater than 25 percentage points above the district average.
However, the redistricting plan reaches across the town and city. Mike Zuba, associate senior planner with Milone & MacBroom, said Groton has shrinking populations at some schools while others are projected to rise, and the company looked at educational programs and state mandates. He said it wants any redistricting plan to last least five years.
He added that it may be changed.
“This by no means is a final draft,” he said.
Groton plans three other community meetings in the coming weeks, and expects to present the plan to the state Nov. 23. A final plan would be adopted by the school board in December.
School Board Member Robert Peruzzotti said he does not understand why so many children must move to fix a racial imbalance at one school.
“Every single school is affected. I think a lot of people don’t understand that it’s not just Catherine Kolnaski or Mary Morrisson. It’s every school,” he said.
A street by street listing of the redistricting plan will be posted on the school department website today.
The plan includes these specific changes:
- Students on part of Litton Avenue, Paul Revere Road, Nathan Hale Road and Liberty Drive would be moved from Catherine Kolnaski to Mary Morrisson Elementary.
- Students on Thomas Road would be moved from Catherine Kolnaski to Claude Chester.
- Students in the area of Elderkin Avenue, including Chester Street, Benham Road, George Avenue, Joe Avenue, Mumford Avenue, Bishop Lane and Rainville Avenue would be moved from Pleasant Valley to Catherine Kolnaski.
- Students on Toll Gate Road, part of Bridge Street, Clarence B. Sharp Highway and Litton Avenue would be moved from Pleasant Valley to Mary Morrisson.
- Students in the area of Fairview Avenue and Walker Hill Road, including Grove Avenue, Riverview Avenue, Senkow Avenue, Shannon Lane, Fieldside Drive and Bushnell Street would be moved from Mary Morrisson to Pleasant Valley.
- Students along part of Route 12, including Plesant Valley Road, Lafayette Drive, Michigan Drive, Thresher Avenue and Military Highway would be moved from Pleasant Valley to Charles Barnum.
- Students on Gales Ferry Road and Charlton Lane would be moved from Northeast Academy to Claude Chester.
- Students in the Midway Oval neighborhood, including those on Industrial Drive, Gary Court, Knoxville Court and Flint Court would be moved from Claude Chester to S.B. Butler Elementary.
- Students on Ring Drive, Corey Road, Donna Drive, Meryl Court, Paved Road and Hemlock Road would be moved from S.B. Butler to Claude Chester.