Bethlehem redistricting committee continues to define new school boundaries

Neighborhood boundaries were further defined at the Tuesday, Sept. 25, meeting of the Bethlehem Central School District redistricting committee.

We have a lot to do tonight, said Doug Hamlin of VersaTrans Solutions, the company hired to guide the town through the redistricting process.

Sixty-nine neighborhoods were identified by boundary lines after the first meeting.

"The goal tonight is to lock down those neighborhood units," said Hamlin.

The goal of the redistricting committee, which is made up of PTA members from each of the elementary schools, is to define boundaries that will provide the criteria for establishing maps that will achieve a more balanced school enrollment across six elementary schools, including the new Eagle Elementary School expected to open in 2008.

Carol Quinn, a resident of the Haswell Farms development, said three quarters of the children in her neighborhood go to Hamagrael and the others are enrolled in Elsmere. She suggested that children who live in her neighborhood be allowed to go to one school.

"I implore upon the board and everyone in the room to keep us together," said Quinn.

Suzy Sodergren, a resident of Eileen Lane in Glenmont, suggested that Wemple Road and Eileen Lane should not be split by a boundary line.

"Right now we would be split with our neighbors across the street," said Sodergren.

A resident of Milltown Plaza suggested the children in her neighborhood all go to the same school.

Hamlin said there is one neighborhood boundary that will likely see a change in the redistricting process.

"Some Glenmont people are going to Clarksville, and it's a situation we will be correcting," Hamlin said.

Redistricting criteria were again discussed by the committee, and those were establishing a balanced school enrollment, achieving more rational boundaries, addressing transportation efficiency, and affecting the fewest families possible. Committee members urged the board to consider socio-economic conditions as other possible criteria.

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