BOE disbands redistricting committee
Updated 10:13 pm, Wednesday, November 18, 2015
A redistricting committee that caused much parental angst was disbanded Tuesday by the Board of Education.
The board also accepted a report from the committee, which listed eight “guiding principles” for any redistricting. The board has a consultant working on proposals to address racial imbalance at McKinley School, and that consultant had requested the guidelines.
While the disbanding was approved unanimously, board member John Llewellyn questioned why it was being done.
“We are basically saying we are closing further discussion, regardless of what the consultant comes back with,” Llewellyn said. “We would have to form a new committee.”
Superintendent of Schools David Title, however, said anything from the consultants would come directly to the entire board.
Chairman Phil Dwyer said he was not fan of looking at “pocket” redistricting — the practice of moving small clusters of students from one school district to another — rather than a town-wide redistricting.
“I think I’ve heard from the public that pocket redistricting is not to Fairfield’s long-term benefit,” Dwyer said.
Board member Eileen Liu-McCormick said several board members were interested in looking not only at redistricting but “examing all the possibilities,” including portable classrooms and building out schools to increase capacity.
“I think that was the point of this whole exercise,” she said, adding that she believes the subcommittee’s mandate changed along the way.
The board was asked by the consultant to come up with five guidelines, and since it came up with more than that, some were concerned the last three would be ignored.
“They’ll look at all of them,” Title said. “They want to get a sense of the board’s priorities. They don’t want to bring something that would be a non-starter.”
Dwyer noted all eight guidelines will be considered because “at the end of the day, we pay them to consider all eight.”
The top priority for the school board is maintaining established neighborhood schools, maintaining walkers, and avoiding long bus rides.