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State Approves Church Street Redistricting

Forty-three Church Street students will attend Helen Street School next year in order to correct what the state has identified as a racial imbalance.

 

More than three dozen Church Hill School students will soon be attending Helen Street School in an effort to correct the racial imbalance that the state has ordered the town's school district to correct at Church Street School.

The state Department of Education on Wednesday approved the plan that redistricts 43 Church Street students to Helen Street School, Supt. of Schools Fran Rabinowitz said Thursday. The families of those affected were notified on Thursday, she said.

"We wanted to wait until the state approved the plan before notifying them," she said.

The district was notified in June that Church Street School was “out of racial balance” -- that the percentage of minority students was more than 25 percent higher than the district average. That triggered the requirement that the district develop a plan to rectify that imbalance, Rabinowitz said, and that plan was approved Wednesday.

What it doesn't do is any redistricting beyond the 43 Church Street students, as was reported in the media Thursday, Rabinowitz said.

"I never said there was going to be major redistricting this year," she said.

“The Board [of Education] has no plans regarding, and is not considering, any immediate wholesale redistricting of Hamden’s neighborhood elementary schools,” said board chairman Michael D'Agostino.

Helen Street School was selected because of its proximity to Church Street School, as well as its available space, Rabinowitz said.

"In an effort to minimize the disruption to students and families, the administration carefully selected to move the neighborhood of Church Street School students that live closest to Helen Street School," she said in a release Thursday. "Helen Street School is one of five Hamden schools that demonstrated significant growth in student achievement over the past several years."

Principal Michael Lorenzo was named “Connecticut PTA Principal of the Year,” she said, and 100 percent of its families are enrolled in its PTA.

An informational meeting is scheduled for January for the families of the students involved in the redistricting, Rabinowitz said, when they will be introduced to the Helen Street School community.

A long-term feasibility study is planned to address student growth and changing demographics, she said, which will explore possibilities including building a new school, renovating existing schools and returning Alice Peck School to use as an elementary school.

The alternative high school, now located at Alice Peck, could be moved to the Central Office building, Rabinowitz said, and Central Offices could be moved into a school building.

But, "right now, clearly the only redistricting we are working on for the 2013-14 school year is the 43 students who will go from Church Street to Helen Street School," she said.

Ann Criscuolo Pari December 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
While all good intentions, I am sure, were used, there will still not be racially balancing in Hamden schools without redistricting Bear Path, West Woods and Spring Glen schools. Helen Street school, having space available to accept more students, has a greater minority presence than the three aforementioned schools. If the Hamden Board of Ed wants to create a more balanced school population, it needs to put aside resident pressure, busing concerns and truly do a whole town redistricting. That is the only way racial balancing can be achieved.
Thomas Alegi December 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM
‘The district was notified in June that Church Street School was “out of racial balance” Supt. of Schools Fran Rabinowitz and BOE members do have at their fingertips or in their BOE, iPad’s all kinds of projected student growth and demographic figures for Hamden schoolchildren. Therefore, the BOE should have seen any racial imbalance growing in our schools before the state of CT. notified the BOE in June. Who at the BOE was asleep at the wheel before June? Redistricting money small or large has to come from some BOE financial account. I did not read what BOE account this redistricting money, will be coming from. I hope this redistricting money does not come from the BOE educational supply accounts, or have the redistricting money carried over until next year, when the BOE can ask for even more money from the L/C. Here is a new pleasantly and different thought, maybe the redistricting money should come from the salaries of the people who were asleep at the wheel at the BOE, and who caused this racial imbalance issue in the first place. Studies I have read on my iPad indicate that racially balanced public schools have more learning opportunities for all students, then non-racially balanced schools. “Modern Toys That Govern Our World” will not make elected officials smarter or less ignorant, then what they already are, by providing them iPads paid for by taxpayers.
Jaimie Cura (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Readers are weighing in on Facebook too. Toni Torelli-Morrissey: "Why should this even matter. We are all the same just different backgrounds!" Brooke Stegner: "This whole thing is absolutely ridiculous." www.facebook.com/hamdenpatch
Anna December 07, 2012 at 05:36 PM
If 5 schools in the district are out of balance how does this one change solve the problem?
Matt Corcoran December 07, 2012 at 10:35 PM
She is right. The first stories released on this were incredibly misleading.

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