Superintendent Paul Kadri held the last of three meetings Wednesday about Groton’s redistricting plan, and several parents at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School said they are upset that a section of neighborhood has been reassigned to Mary Morrisson Elementary.
Elijah Mojica, who has a son in third and fifth grade at the magnet school, said he can hear the school bell and see the building from his front window, but his younger son will be moved to Mary Morrisson under the plan.
“My son doesn’t do well with change,” he said.
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Parent Jenn Corbeil said she is frustrated that the district is disrupting students without a long-range plan for school buildings and student assignments.
“I just think it’s awful that we’re sitting around banging heads and still, we’re nowhere.”
Some of the questions posed and superintendent's general answers are listed below:
Why doesn’t Groton have a long-term plan?
The last plan for new school construction failed at referendum in May, 2011. The town has a committee that will work on a new plan, but it will take three to five years to complete it, get it approved at referendum, obtain the needed state approvals and start building.
Why are students being moved out of Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School?
The school is out of compliance with the state’s racial balance law. The immediate neighborhoods around the school are concentrated with minority students, and the school does not have enough space to take in more magnet students to correct the imbalance.
Will Catherine Kolnaski be compliant after the redistricting?
No, but there will be more room for magnet students to attend, which may correct the imbalance. Class sizes will also be smaller.
What will happen to the three special education programs at S.B. Butler Elementary?
They will remain at the school.
Why not have a magnet program at S.B. Butler to attract special education children and correct the imbalance that way?
You cannot legally have a magnet program based on special education.
Why can’t you reopen Col. Ledyard School?
The school is too small and would be too expensive to bring up to code.
Is this a done deal?
Not quite yet. The school board votes on the redistricting plan Monday. But the school department needs a plan to move forward with transportation, staff assignments and student transition.