The School Committee approved a redistricting map Thursday in a unanimous vote.
The map (pictured), which will go into effect at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, uses “buffer zones,” or multi-school zones, to even out enrollment at Arlington’s elementary schools over time and to have the new Thompson School open with the state-mandated 385 students.
School Committee members thanked the Redistricting Committee, an ad hoc committee of parent representatives, and administrators for coming up with the plan. They called the plan “imperfect” at Thursday’s meeting but said it was the “best solution” given the circumstances.
About 15 parents spoke before the vote, and roughly two-thirds of them were against the plan. Many were parents in the / buffer zone near Route 2 and the / buffer zone near Park Avenue.
Parents in the Brackett/Bishop zone feared that their kids, who would now walk to Brackett, would have to take the bus to Bishop. Those from the Brackett/Dallin zone expressed concerns that Park Avenue is too dangerous for young children to cross safely.
School Committee member Jeff Thielman said that some of these issues may be resolved when the committee’s Policy and Procedures Subcommittee works to implement the map.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie said that the Redistricting Committee believed that the buffer zones were a better option than changing the district’s hard lines because they provide more flexibility, and, therefore, can be a longer-term solution.
Students who are enrolled prior to the 2013-14 school year will be grandfathered in to the current district map, as will all of their siblings.