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Bethlehem boundary scenarios to be presented at meeting

VersaTrans, the firm hired by Bethlehem Central School District to come up with new school boundaries, is scheduled to present four different scenarios to the 24-member redistricting committee on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

At a committee meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 16, Doug Hamlin of VersaTrans said the four scenarios will be narrowed down to two or three by the committee. Those final redistricting scenarios will be presented to the school board in December for consideration.

Our goal is to have four scenarios for the community to evaluate by Nov. 6, said Hamlin.

Establishing appropriate school enrollment levels consistent with the capacity of the six elementary schools is the No. 1 criteria set forth by the committee.

Achieving more rational boundaries, addressing transportation efficiencies, and affecting the fewest families possible are among the other standards.

When the new scenarios are presented, the committee will review each to see how they best meet the criteria and the needs of the community.

"It's really a matter of taking data, neighborhood units, school capacity and student data and assembling it into boundaries," Hamlin said.

The committee has been meeting since early September. Seventy-one neighborhood planning units have been established by the committee and can be viewed online on the district Web site at http://bcsd.k12.ny.us.

"It's tedious and a lot of number crunching," Hamlin said.

Hamlin said the neighborhood planning units will not change until after the scenarios are presented in November.

Angie Randles, one of four committee members representing Slingerlands, said she believes the November meeting will be well attended.

"I think the entire community will be in the high school cafeteria that night," said Randles, who, along with other committee members, has been fielding daily queries by phone and through e-mail from interested parents.

"Sometimes they ask where they are going or if they will be able to give input once scenarios are presented," said Maureen Powers, a committee member representing Hamagrael.

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