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New Elementary School Boundaries Approved

Half Hollow Hills school board reconfigures map for elementary schools.

Half Hollow Hills superintendent Kelly Fallon discusses numbers at Monday's board meeting. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Half Hollow Hills superintendent Kelly Fallon discusses numbers at Monday's board meeting. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
The Half Hollow Hills Board of Education unanimously approved new boundaries for its elementary schools Monday night, an outgrowth of its decision in October to close two schools because of declining enrollment.

School superintendent Kelly Fallon said changes in the final plan, known as Map 4, will achieve a better balance in diversifying and equalizing the population of students in each of the five schools. The new map means some students not connected to the closing schools, Chestnut Hill and Forest Park, will need to change schools in the fall.

"We tried every scenario from A to Z," Fallon said. "At the end of the day, Map 4 addresses our guiding principles. We maintain high school ratios; we have balanced enrollment in 5 elementary schools; we have a rang of 152 range now; will drop that range and have addressed the outlying neighborhoods."

With the new boundaries, effective in the fall, the projected populations are:

Otsego 520

Paumanok 524

Signal Hill  643

Sunquam 585

Vanderbilt 662

She said the district had been contacting private pre-kindergarten schools and temples to get an accurate head count of incoming kindergartners and that she expected Vanderbilt's numbers to decline. She also said the new configuration should make bus routes more efficient.

The changes will not affect which high schools the elementary students will attend in the future; the feeder system, Fallon said, remains intact. Teachers who have to switch to a new building will not have bumping rights over colleagues.

"Our hearts go out to the children" who have to change schools, board president James Ptucha said. "We know it's not easy; we're all parents so we know. We have to act in the best interest of the district."

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