Schenectady CSD moves forward with redistricting plans

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Schenectady City Schools will face major changes in 2016 after the Board of Education voted to redistrict the schools.

As part of the redistricting plan, some schools will be closing, and students will be forced to go to different schools. Officials said the plan will benefit its students in the long-run.

On Wednesday night, the Schenectady School Board of Education passed the redistricting plans 5-2. The changes will come in September 2016. As a result, Elmer Avenue and FDR Elementary Schools will be closed, and the Oneida School for sixth to eight grade students will reopen.

Schenectady CSD school officials said all elementary schools will serve pre-k to fifth grade, and all three middle schools will serve students grades six through eight.

Superintendent Larry Spring said redistricting will establish a clear system where parents know exactly where their child will be going to school for elementary and middle school. He explained the redistricting will create diversity in the classroom in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic status. He also said there will be less crowded classrooms.

“It really is about equity of opportunity for kids and trying to create the same opportunities no matter where the kids go to school,” he said. “We want to make sure every child has access to the same kind of programming, and we aren’t not able to do that with k through eight schools very vigorously.”

Some parents agree with the changes, but they still have some concerns.

“2016 is when we have this big, ‘Yea, here is our new district layout,’” parent Jamaica Miles said. “But for this year – 2015 – my youngest will start school and go someplace and that may not be the building she goes to in 2016.”

That’s one of the biggest concerns parents have with the changes. But Miles said she’s staying optimistic.

“I think that after that initial transition…we are going to see that this is great for Schenectady. This is great for our students,” she said.

Tanya Cramer’s son will be going to kindergarten next year. She’s been following the redistricting plans closely. Like Miles, she’s looking forward to what lies ahead.

“Not always easy,” she said. “But the transition from elementary to middle and from middle to high school – I believe you need that transition and to not be in the same school for 13-14 years of your life.”

Spring said the redistricting will cut down on bus routes and more students can walk to school. He also said the elementary school students on the north side of the city will be affected the most.

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