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Manchester elementary school redistricting will be key topic of meeting

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 17. 2013 9:07PM

MANCHESTER - School Superintendent Tom Brennan said he wants members of a school board committee to think a couple of years into the future when they meet this week to discuss redistricting.

Brennan's redistricting plan, announced last month, is slated to come up when the Building and Sites Committee meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Last month, Brennan announced plans to tweak enrollment boundaries of elementary schools in order to better distribute kids and bring some children into their neighborhood schools.

But larger ideas - such as a reconfiguration of West Side schools, another elementary school, and the current feeder system - were put off.

Brennan said he wants the committee to consider those notions.

"That's for my (successor) to deal with," said Brennan, who is stepping down from his job in June, "but we have to have these conversations now."

However, the chairman of the Building and Sites Committee said he's uncertain why the redistricting plan is coming up. The school board gave Brennan the authority to undertake five redistricting steps, which include the readjustment of elementary school attendance lines, consideration of new housing development, and the reassessment of placements outside of attendance districts.

"The full board's already acted on it. The full board's already given the superintendent the authority to move ahead," said Chairman John Avard. "It's a little backward to go back to the committee process."

He said his constituents aren't concerned about the adjustments to elementary attendance boundaries. But they are against closing Manchester High School West.

Last month, Brennan said West could be closed, but he'd be concerned about the student population at the city's other two high schools. He said other plans are on the table for West which include turning it into a magnet school or a grade 7-12 school.

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