MANCHESTER — Following dozens of testimonials from parents asking them to “slow down” the district’s plan to move fifth-graders to city middle schools starting next fall, Manchester school board members voted Monday to postpone those changes until 2021 at the earliest.
School board members voted in April 2018 to move forward with a redistricting plan brought forward by former Superintendent of Schools Bolgen Vargas, which adjusted student feeder patterns across the city and moving fifth-graders into the district’s four middle schools.
Though the plan was approved 18 months ago, dozens of parents have appeared at school board meetings in recent weeks, expressing frustration with a lack of notice from the district on the redistricting plan and impending migration of students.
Monday night, in response to those concerns, current Superintendent of Schools John Goldhardt said he was announcing a redistricting “reboot” of sorts, delaying some of the changes.
Goldhardt announced the new plan is for Southside Middle School to include grades 5 through 8 in Sept. 2021, while Hillside and McLaughlin middle schools welcome fifth-graders beginning in Sept. 2022.
Goldhardt also said the district would develop a “comprehensive communications plan” to communicate the redistricting plan to parents of students at city elementary schools, specifically parents of current third-graders, who would be the first impacted by the changes in 2021.
Goldhardt’s recommendations were met by clapping and applause by those in attendance at Monday night’s school board meeting.