Below is the text of Dr. Halley's recommendation delivered on Wed. nite...
The other supporting documentation available that nite were district line maps and 3 spreadsheets. The 1) May 2003 enrollment, 2) the K-5 committee's proposed 7 school K-5 plan (that has been the committee's plan since they asked for a budget from the superintendent since DEC 2002) and now 3) Dr. Halley's new status quo for part of town.
Since Dec 2002, Mr. Mudge (a school committee member) and many residents have been asking for a return to the use of Fishing Cove as a K Center. Not only is it significantly less expensive ($600K) but would NOT require redistricting many children. It would give the committee time to evaluate and scrutinize the 2 outstanding advisory committee reports delivered in Nov & Dec 2002.
Although there does not appear to be any other school committee support for a K Center, it could still appear "on the table". But more realistically, currently on the table are two forms of using all 7 schools as elementary schools.
Both include budgeting for 3 Full Day Kindergarten classes at Davisville Elementary (DES) again this year (Full Day K was a pilot this year at DES). Both plans also call for the renovation ($100K) of Fishing Cove's kitchen to accomodate a cafeteria and gym, an update of the bathrooms, playgrounds and computer access.
The DIFFERENCE between the 2 plans comes with how DES would be configured. Dr. Halley's new proposal is to configure DES again as a K-3 school and with the other 6 schools being K-5. Quidnessett Elem. (QES) would again include DES's 4th & 5th graders (something that was supposed to be only temporary). The original budget and proposal based on the K-5 committee was to configure all 7 schools the same as K-5.
On Wed. nite, May 21, the figure of 50 kids (near the end of this recommendation in item #9) was verbally changed to more like 100. But no additional classroom space is gained.
Superintendent's Recommendation on Reconfiguration
May 21, 2003
Over the past fifteen years, the distribution of students among the elementary schools in North Kingstown has been a perennial topic of conversation and investigation. Four citizen committees have reviewed this topic since 1998, the Growth Management Committee, the Capital Improvement Committee, the K-5 Reconfiguration Committee and the School Modernization Committee. The conclusion of all of these committees has been that a long term solution for the distribution of students among schools in the town is a priority.
In the past eight years there have been three major revisions of attendance area boundaries and continuous adjustment and fine tuning of attendance areas. Each of these revisions was the result of a political solution that addressed immediate needs but did not resolve the long term problem of imbalance in the distribution of students among schools because of increased growth of student population in the southern sections of town at the same time that the northern sections were experiencing a lag in student populations.
Over the past year, two committees, the K-5 Reconfiguration Committee and the School Modernization Committee, have completed reports and made recommendations for redistricting and facilities improvement. In addressing the issues of Reconfiguration, in the near and long terms, both of these reports need to be taken into consideration.
The K-5 Reconfiguration Committee recommended the establishment of seven K-5 grade elementary schools in the district. Each of these schools would be equitable in terms of space provided both for classrooms and special purposes. Space was left in each school to add additional students if necessary. Essentially, the reconfiguration plans established two zones in the town - a southern zone and a northern zone. The southern zone consisted of Stony Lane, Hamilton, Wickford and Fishing Cove. The northern zone contained Quidnesset, Davisville and Forest Park. The only overlap of the zones is the fifty students who reside between Quonset and Wickford off of the east side of Post Road.
The Modernization Committee recommended additions and renovations to Davisville, Forest Park, Fishing Cove and possibly Wickford Elementary Schools as well as Wickford Middle School. These additions and renovations would provide improvements or additions to the core facilities such as gymnasiums, libraries, and special purpose areas, as well as adding classroom space as needed.
After reviewing the numerous reports and surveys, the needs of the district's students, and listening to parents, teachers, administrators, and community
members over the past year, I feel that the following recommendation best meets the long term needs of the students of North Kingstown.
I recommend that the reconfiguration plan proposed by the K-5 Reconfiguration Committee for the southern zone of the town be adopted by the School Committee. This plan provides for a distribution of students among the schools that maximizes the space within each school, allows each school to have separate special purpose areas and at the same time provides room to expand especially in Hamilton and Stony Lane. Any additions or renovations that might take place in the future to either Fishing Cove or Wickford Elementary Schools would only enhance this plan and would not necessitate additional redistricting of students.
In the northern zone, I recommend that the School Committee remain with the current configuration and distribution of students among Davisville, Forest Park and Quidnesset Elementary Schools with the exception of the students who live south of Quonset in the vicinity of Fishing Cove School. These students, who reside off of Post Road, would attend Fishing Cove as is proposed in the K-5 Reconfiguration Committee Plan. Such a deferment of the decision to reconfigure this area will provide time to review the recommendations of the Modernization committee and determine the long term impact of any construction on the school reconfiguration of this area of town.
A number of factors have led me to this recommendation.
1. This northern zone of the town is not expanding in terms of student population. The issue in this area is adequacy of facilities and program needs to be addressed through the process begun by the School Modernization Committee.
2. The reconfiguration of the northern zone would be premature in face of the Modernization Committee's recommendations and the possibility that additions to Davisville and/or Forest Part would necessitate further redistricting in order to reunite neighborhoods that are divided by the current plan proposed by the K-5 Committee.
3. The movement of the students who live at Navy Drive and Heritage from Davisville Elementary School to Quidnesset would represent a major shift of an at risk population out of a neighborhood within walking distance of Davisville that could be construed as discriminatory.
4. A shift and possible loss of COZ services would result from a major movement of this at risk population.
5. The current configuration of the northern zone is more in keeping with the town's Davisville Community Development plan that is supported by grant monies that have been generated in support for this plan.
6. Davisville Elementary School is operating quite effectively serving its current student population and has applied for and received grant monies in excess of $70,000 to establish the SmART program and increase community involvement.
7. Davisville Elementary School as currently configured is the only school in
North Kingstown that serves a contiguous geographical neighborhood.
8. The overwhelming wishes of the Davisville Elementary School community were to maintain the geographical integrity of the community even at the expense of having the fourth and fifth grade students attend another school until such time as the entire community could be united in one school.
9. The movement of approximately 50 students who live south of Quonset out of Quidnesset would provide additional space at the school. Twenty-nine of these students will be in fourth and fifth grade with fourteen in fifth and fifteen in fourth grades next year.