Twenty parent-teacher representatives and five elementary school principals will make up the Bethlehem Central School District redistricting committee.
The committee's formation is the first in a series of several steps over a six-month period that will culminate early next year in new school boundaries for the district.
We came up with a schedule that is aggressive but important, said Doug Hamlin president of Versa Trans Solutions Inc., the firm hired to oversee Bethlehem's redistricting process.
School board members agreed at the Wednesday, Aug. 8, meeting that the majority of the committee should consist of parents who have the most at stake when new school boundary lines are drawn. Each of the five existing elementary schools, Elsmere, Clarksville, Slingerlands, Glenmont and Hamagrael will have four parent representatives serving on the redistricting committee.
"The more people that are involved, the more information out there," said Lynne Lenhardt, a member of the school board who was involved in redistricting in Bethlehem several years ago. "It can only help us."
Many children will likely stay in the same school they are already enrolled in. Others will be moved to the new Eagle Elementary School beginning in the 2008-2009 school year or another elementary school within the district depending on the new boundary lines.
"We don't want to split neighborhoods," said Lenhardt.
Neighborhood meetings will be held by the newly formed committee in September and October to hear community input on the best way to draw new lines.
"We have five excellent schools, and no one will be at a disadvantage," said new school board president James Lytle, reminding residents that no matter what decision the committee and board reach on redistricting, students will be attending an outstanding academic institution.
"Each school is very comparable, and we are not giving anyone the short end of the stick," Lytle added.