COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board voted 6-1 Monday evening to approve scenario B for intermediate and high school boundaries when Battle High School opens in 2013.
The boundary scenario splits secondary boundaries into six intermediate schools and three high schools. It was recommended to the board by the Secondary Enrollment Planning Committee, which was in charge of creating the new boundary maps.
Here's a map of the approved Approach B for high schools that allows you to zoom in for a closer look at the boundaries. This map shows Approach B for intermediate schools.
Board member Michelle Pruitt dissented, saying she heard concerns from Hickman High School parents about the distances their children would have to travel to school under the new boundaries. Some students who currently attend Hickman will be moved to Rock Bridge High School in scenario B.
For those students, the new boundaries would move them to a high school farther away, which Pruitt said could make it harder to participate in after-school activities. She said some students already face barriers to being involved at school, and eliminating the ability to walk to school doesn't help.
"To me, those are the students who are at the most risk to not be able to find a spot in the school community where they fit in," she said.
Board President Tom Rose said that while he couldn't make any promises, he could see how parents could make an argument for having an educational reason for a transfer in the case of students who live within walking distance of a school.
"There just isn't going to be a completely perfect solution," board member Helen Wade said.
Wade said that while the transition would be difficult, students will adjust and succeed in the schools they will attend. She said she spoke as a parent of an elementary school student who will be affected by the boundary changes. Wade added that she attended multiple schools growing up and "it didn't kill (her)."
Rose said the district had to balance the needs of each student with the needs of the district as a whole when making its decision.
Superintendent Chris Belcher said part of education is the culture developed in the school, not just the specific building. He said the district needs to focus its energy on getting kids excited about where they go to school and not on solving every small geographical issue.
"I think we've looked at this every possible way," Belcher said. "We're going to have to make a decision and just know that there will be some people (whose) preferences would be different."