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Bozeman School District lays out possible boundary changes

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 04 2013 11:03:24 PM MST
Updated On: Mar 22 2013 04:22:55 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

On Monday night, Superintendent Rob Watson and Deputy Superintendent Steve Johnson explained to more than a dozen Irving Elementary School parents what's possible for realigning the school boundaries.

"We wanted to look at all our boundaries and decide which students would go to the new school, but also look at our boundaries and decide which schools are overcrowded" Superintendent Watson said.

He said it comes down to who will go to the new elementary, but also how to alleviate current overcrowding issues at certain schools- like Morning Star and Emily Dickinson.

There are four main options the district is considering. These recommendations came out of a Boundary Realignment Committee, made up of parents and school officials. Over the course of their two January meetings, they looked at how construction of the new elementary impacts current boundaries- and what the current school capacities look like.

"All of the options show different ways where more students could move into Irving" Watson said, during the presentation.

In other words, the plan doesn't call for anyone to be transferred away from Irving, but more kids could be heading there.

"We live on 4th, which right now is the eastern boundary of Irving school district" said parent Suzi Taylor. "I'm interested if it moves. If it moves to Wilson, would we have new neighbors who go to Irving?"

She said if they extend the boundary from 4th to Wilson, she'd be excited to have other kids in her neighborhood attend the same school her kids do.

"I think that makes a big difference whether the kids who go to the school are from the neighborhood" she said.

But Taylor said she can see why the boundary realignment is concerning to some, especially for kids who might have to switch schools.

"A lot of families will experience change, and that's difficult" Taylor said. "You get really invested in the school you attend."

Superintendent Watson said 5th graders wouldn't have to move. And some parents could request for their kids to stay at their schools.

"I'm very interested in the middle school boundary issues" said parent Jeanne Korn.

She wanted to know how the boundary realignment would affect which middle school kids attend. The district said there have to equal out those boundaries, but would only do so for incoming students.

The school board is expected to decide on which of the four options they'll go with on March 4th. Those new boundaries would take effect in the fall of 2014.

The meeting at Irving Elementary Monday night was the first of several meetings the district will hold. They'll meet at Morning Star on Wednesday, February 6th at 6 pm; Emily Dickinson is Friday, February 8th at 2 pm; Tuesday, February 12th at 6 pm will be at Hyalite; and Longfellow's meeting is Wednesday, February 13th at noon.

Whittier and Hawthorne elementary  schools will not be included in the meetings because there are no proposed boundary changes for those schools.