School board approves redistricting transfer policy

Thursday, February 23, 2012 | 12:48 p.m. CST; updated 3:20 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 23, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board unanimously approved a new transfer policy that would go into effect when Battle High School opens in fall 2013.

Under the new policy, students who are currently in ninth grade and assigned to Rock Bridge or Hickman high schools when the redistricting takes effect can request to transfer to their new high school for the 2012-13 school year.

Maps of new school boundaries

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.

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Students who are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in the 2013-14 school year who have senior siblings at Rock Bridge or Hickman now may request a transfer to their sibling's school.

The school board decided during its work session Thursday to include freshmen in the sibling provision. Previously, the transfer policy would have included only sophomores and juniors.

The school board voted to approve Scenario B for intermediate and high school boundaries at its meeting Feb. 13.

School board members also agreed Thursday that the district should not make exceptions for transfers solely based on athletics. Superintendent Chris Belcher said using athletics as a reason for transfer could potentially violate Missouri State High School Activities Association policies.

Kim Presko, the Oakland Junior High School principal who will become the principal of Battle High School in 2013, spoke at the meeting.

Presko said she wants to get students to Battle to tour the grounds once the construction site is safer for visitors. She said they are planning for offseason athletic training, sports camps, summer school and summer orientation for new students. 

"We're just really excited about putting the people who create the culture in the building," Presko said. "Right now it's just walls."

The board also voted unanimously to approve its policy that sets out guidelines for student and staff relations and online communications between them.

The board also heard a presentation from Peter Stiepleman, assistant superintendent for elementary education, about a potential boundary shift in the Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School zone that would redistrict about 76 students to Parkade Elementary School.

Stiepleman said concern has been raised about overcrowding at Alpha Hart Lewis next year, where projected enrollment would be 740. He said there will be a public forum at 4:30 p.m. March 1 at Alpha Hart Lewis to discuss the potential shift of student attendance in the area. He said letters have already been sent to potentially affected families.

The board also voted unanimously to approve an amendment to DLR Group Inc.'s contract to update Two Mile Prairie Elementary School's air conditioning systems. The proposed budget was raised by $8,500. The board is expected to vote on a bid at its March 12 meeting.

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Steve Spellman February 24, 2012 | 11:20 p.m.

The Board largely locks in students to their assigned school, based only on where they live, "take it or leave it."
This will cause problems, like it or not. Some parents moved the last time RB and Hickman lines were redrawn by the authorities. Other parents now will do the same: within town, or to Ashland or Hallsville; or just sit by and resent the district more than they do now. Others will lean toward bailing out of CPS toward private and parochial options; to schools that respect their mobility, their voice, and their priorities.
Central planning of society - in the economy or with schools - might seem to work to some degree, but there are often great side effects. Wait for the reactions from actually everyday parents. The Board has gone down the wrong path here.

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