Park Hill School District adds other redistricting options

After receiving public feedback, the Park Hill School District went back to the drawing board to create additional redistricting scenarios.

After receiving feedback from almost 300 people on the Park Hill Listens website, the district has added two additional scenarios to the four options already available to the public. According to the district, more than 7,000 people have viewed the four scenarios posted at earlier this month.

Many of the comments, both from the public and from the redistricting committee, asked the district to take the committee’s scenarios and have outside demographers try to improve them. Demographers shorted some transportation distances in the new scenarios, such as leaving the Sunpointe subdivision at Southeast Elementary and sending Montabella students to Walden Middle School.

According to a statement issued by the district this week, demographers struggled with socio-economic balance and were only able to narrow the gap slightly.

The timeline for final board approval in December has not changed. A public open house will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 at Plaza Middle School.

“The Board of Education wanted to be responsive to the feedback about creating these additional maps and doing this now will allow us to try to stay on schedule,” said superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd. “We need a decision in December in order to staff the schools, create class schedules and prepare for all the transitions. However, we realize that by trying to address some challenges on the maps, we might create other issues. We hope people will look at the new maps carefully and tell us what they think.”

The district has been working on a redistricting plan due to the construction of new middle and elementary schools. The schools are expected to open in fall 2019. A committee made up of parents, staff and district administrators was appointed by the board of education earlier this year and has held public meetings this fall.