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New Richmond approves new school boundaries

Incoming kindergarten students in New Richmond could be attending different schools after approval of a new school boundary map at the Feb. 18 school board meeting.

The boundary changes come as a result of the need to balance enrollment numbers at the three elementary schools.

According to projections, New Richmond's kindergarten class will grow by 50-60 students next year.

The goal of the district is to enroll about 90 kindergarten students at both Starr and Hillside next year and about 60 students at Paperjack, said Brian Johnston, director of building and fiscal operations for the district. To do that, several boundary changes will need to be made:

• Change the Paperjack boundary in the southeast corner of the district to include all areas east of 140th Street, picking up nine kindergarten students.

• Change the Paperjack boundary in the northeast corner of the district to include all areas east of 145th Street and 150th Street, picking up six kindergarten students.

• Change the Hillside Elementary boundary by adding all students south of Somerset Road (State Highway 64), adding nine students back to Hillside Elementary.

• Make the Southview area north of Paperjack (from Willow on the west to Valley Creek Drive on the east) a transition area between the three elementary schools for 2014 and beyond. This area may be used for future enrollment adjustments if necessary.

• Require kindergarten students in the revised attendance area to go to their new school.

• Allow siblings of kindergarten students who are in the new boundary areas to move to the new elementary school with their kindergarten sibling if they want to do so, but not require it.

• Allow students in the new attendance area to fill out intradistrict transfer forms if they wish to change schools, which may or may not be approved based upon space available.

• Move the notification date for open enrollment building assignments back to the second week of August.

Johnston said the district will have to require kindergarten students to attend their assigned schools because it's unlikely the numbers will balance if they don't. Intradistrict transfer forms will continue to be accepted, but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and decisions will not be made until mid-August, once the district has a good idea of enrollment numbers at each of the schools.

For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.