Learning Tree

Danbury Public Schools
A Community of Learners in Danbury, Connecticut


Recommendations Regarding Redistricting

 

The full Partner School Program Report can be found HERE.

It is recommended that the district not implement a pocket-redistricting plan for numerous reasons, which are detailed below. Rather, the approach that is more conducive to the educational needs of children and their families as well as being more fiscally responsible is to create formal sister school relationships building on our current model, as needed, to address enrollment issues.

Reasons not to implement pocket redistricting:

  • Any form of redistricting is extremely disruptive to the families and students affected by the process
  • The concept of creating parity between sending and receiving schools cannot be accomplished in our district due to the fact that almost all of our schools are nearing their maximum projected capacity levels for enrollments.
  • An analysis of the current enrollment patterns using the official October 1, 2011, enrollment numbers indicates that the only benefit of redistricting would be to foster a reduction in the teacher/student ratio in some classes at the targeted sending schools including Shelter Rock and Mill
  • Ridge Primary.
  • The impact on the targeted receiving schools including Great Plain and Hayestown would be extremely negative with regard to the loss of special subject area classrooms and a reduction in the quality of instruction provided by the special subject area teachers due to the move to an "on the cart" model of instruction.
  • There are substantial new costs associated with the presented pocket redistricting options totally approximately $1,100,000 needed to cover staffing, transportation, material and supply expenses.
  • The current enrollment driven concerns at Morris Street School, while not optimum, are acceptable when viewed in light of the one viable solution. This solution is to move one of the school readiness classes out of the school. This action would free up a classroom that could be used for one of the special area programs. However, it appears that the district would not be able to place this readiness class in any other location without substantial difficulties such as site-licensing of a new classroom location, the creation of a licensed playground area and other possible legal requirements that would need to be addressed. This concern could be mitigated by offering only one readiness class at Morris Street so as to use the vacant classroom to address any future enrollment spikes or to house the previously mentioned special subject area program.

Therefore, we recommend the following short-term solutions:

1. Continue to adhere to the recommendation in the Savin Report to transform special subject instructional areas and ancillary space into grade level classrooms wherever necessary;
2. Formalize the pilot Sister School relationship between Shelter Rock School and Great Plain School
3. Create a Sister School relationship between Mill Ridge Primary School and Hayestown Avenue School.
4. Consider downsizing the Pre-Kindergarten Readiness Classes at Morris Street School by one class and repurposing the newly vacated classroom for increased enrollment.
In conclusion, the 2020 task force will determine the long-term solution. In the interim period, we need to continue to explore possible options for the use of the Mill Ridge Education Center pending the move of the Head Start Program to its new site while also continuously monitoring the ongoing mobility rate between our schools and the prevailing enrollment patterns.