Tri States Public Radio Staff
Voluntary Transfers Welcomed
Sun April 15, 2012
Burlington Schools Form Boundaries Committee
The Burlington School District is going back to the drawing board when it comes to reshaping school boundaries.
Superintendent Jane Evans says the district’s elementary enrollment is out of balance. She says, for example, North Hill has too many students while Blackhawk is running well below capacity.
The district estimates that 14% of its elementary school students do not attend their neighborhood school. In response, it identified a neighborhood where students could change schools to help balance out the enrollment figures.
Evans says that plan ran into opposition so the school board is forming a special committee to review the maps and enrollment figures to develop new boundaries.
She says moving a family from one school to another can be very stressful as they tend to fall in love with a building so changing a school can be upsetting.
Evans says the district is not waiting for a new plan to be developed, though, to try to balance out the enrollment. She says that is why parents or guardians are being asked to voluntarily move their children from North Hill Elementary to either Blackhawk or Corse Elementaries.
The district’s roughly $59-million budget for the 2012/2013 school year has been approved.
Business Manager Chris Stensland says it is a couple million dollars more than the current spending plan due to construction and other expenses.
She says past cuts by the Burlington School Board allowed the district to avoid making the serious cuts being made in other districts.
Stensland says staffing levels will remain nearly the same, other than cuts related to a potential loss of federal funding for Title I positions.
Burlington’s property tax rate is on track for an $0.80 reduction next year.
WASHINGTON SCHOOL SALE
The district is ready to sell the former Washington Elementary School, after selling the former Oak Street Middle School to a local business owner late last year.
Superintendent Jane Evans says Washington Elementary is no longer needed as the district’s alternative school is moving to the former James Madison Middle School next year.
She says demolition is also an option if it looks like a vacant lot would be more marketable than the former school building.
OAK STREET MOBILE UNIT
The school board has agreed to sell a mobile classroom unit that was used at Oak Street Middle School for $50,000.
Evans says the company purchasing it is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She says the company has 30 days to pick the unit up.
A previous agreement to sell the unit fell through, prompting the recent call for new offers.
AFTER SCHOOL GRANT
The federal government could aid the district in developing three community learning centers.
Evans says the district is applying for $600,000 through the U.S. Department of Education to cover much of the cost of the centers, which would feature after-school tutoring opportunities.
She says the community learning centers, which would also feature character-building programs, would be open to high school, middle school, and upper level elementary school students.