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District redrawing Columbia school boundaries to balance demographics, reduce transitions

Thursday, October 27, 2011 | 10:15 a.m. CDT; updated 6:20 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the rest of the Missourian's coverage, click here.

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools charged the secondary enrollment planning committee to redraw school boundaries to incorporate Battle High School, scheduled to open in August 2013. Battle, Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools will begin serving grades nine through 12.

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Today, Columbia has three middle schools and three junior high schools, with the middle schools serving grades six and seven and junior high schools serving grades eight and nine. Under the new boundaries, these will be reconfigured into intermediate schools serving grades six through eight.

Committee chairman Don Ludwig said one goal of this reconfiguration was to reduce the number of transitions students make between buildings.

"If you're a sharp kid, it doesn't bother you as much," Ludwig said. "If you're on the margins, it really affects your achievement." 

Ludwig said the new boundaries are also intended to reduce overcrowding in schools, eliminate the need for trailers and reallocate space the district already has. 

"It balances the schools out to share the space within the district," he said. 

Ludwig said the district has committees and task forces now focused on facilitating the recombination of grade levels. These groups will develop plans to transition teachers, resources and equipment among schools, he said.

Ludwig confirmed that the new boundaries will take effect on schedule in August 2013, when Battle opens. Construction of the high school in northeast Columbia was on schedule as of the week of Oct. 17.

The next step, though, is for the committee to narrow its approaches from three to two, based on community input in November.


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