Genoa Township trustees show support for Fouse, Alcott parents
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
The Westerville City School District is considering alternative plans for redistricting that is less a redistricting and more of a demographic restructuring; and Genoa Township residents with students attending Fouse Elementary School and Alcott Elementary have expressed concerns about their children being bused out of Genoa Township to Pointview Elementary School to help balance district demographics.
Genoa Township resident Joe Barganier attended the February 7 Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting to express his concerns about the Westerville district’s elementary school realignment. At that time there were four options on the table, with Option C showing students from two Fouse and Alcott neighborhoods being bused to Pointview.
Genoa resident Sheryl Prichard attended the February 21 trustee meeting and said while Option C was off the table, there were now Options A through E shown on the Westerville City School District website, and Prichard said she is concerned about an Option F.
An Option F does not appear on the website’s Elementary Attendance Boundary Realignment page. To view mapped options go to the Westerville City School District website at < westerville.k12.oh.us/ > and click on Two Additional Elementary Attendance Boundary Options Developed; or go directly to <www.wcsoh.org/administrativeDepartment.aspx?aid=131 >, and click on each option for a PDF map.
Prichard said she wanted to be certain that township trustees were aware of what is going on with the Westerville school realignment; that it’s not just a slight shifting of boundaries that’s typical of redistricting to accommodate student population growth.
“They want to take a block of our elementary students past six elementary schools to attend Pointview,” Prichard said. “It’s terrible to move children out of our neighborhood schools. We picked homes based on our schools. This is ruining the reputation of Westerville schools.”
Trustee Rick Carfagna said the Westerville schools demographic realignment raises, in his words, two compelling points of concern for Genoa Township residents and the trustees.
“First, we have an extensive investment in safe routes to schools for our residents, and that means neighborhood schools,” Carfagna said. “And the second point is, Westerville school levies have been very divisive, but there has really been strong support for Westerville schools in Genoa Township. Something like this could create a lot of ill will. Why create more tension?”
Trustee Karl Gebhardt said the trustees could formalize a statement supporting a neighborhood school concept, adding that it was not a race or a class issue; it was a logistics and a safety issue.
Trustee chair Barb Lewis agreed with Gebhardt.
“I think it’s a no-brainer if we come out with a resolution supporting the concept of neighborhood schools,” Lewis said. “Neighborhood schools are good for our community; it’s been part of the reason people move here. I can’t speak for the school board, but we will represent the interests of our residents.”
The trustees approved a motion supporting neighborhood schools, and agreed to draft and sign a letter to Westerville schools board members and administrators expressing their concerns and supporting the parents of Fouse and Alcott elementary school students.
Prichard said the school district wants a final decision in place before spring break.
According to the Westerville City School District website the Westerville City School District Board of Education was to conduct a first reading on elementary attendance boundary realignment at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 25, in the commons of Westerville South High School, 303 South Otterbein Avenue.