Park­land schools to hold meet­ings on el­e­men­tary school place­ment

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kevin Duffy Kevin Duffy is a free­lance writer for The Morn­ing Call.

“That [hav­ing 450-550 stu­dents per school] will al­low for op­ti­mum class sizes in all five of our schools.”

With the open­ing of Veter­ans Me­mo­rial El­e­men­tary School in the fall of 2020, some par­ents in the south­west por­tion of Park­land School Dis­trict might be won­der­ing where their chil­dren will be at­tend­ing class.

School ad­min­is­tra­tors hope to al­lay those con­cerns by hold­ing a se­ries of com­mu­nity meet­ings next month at the four el­e­men­tary schools in that sec­tion of the dis­trict in or­der to keep par­ents in­formed about their re­dis­trict­ing plans.

Re­dis­trict­ing is nec­es­sary to de­ter­mine which stu­dents will at­tend the new K-5 school planned for Twin Ponds Road in Up­per Ma­cungie Town­ship and to bal­ance en­roll­ment among the soon-to-be five schools in the area, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Rod­ney Trout­man said dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to the school board Tues­day.

The new bound­aries for Fred Jaindl El­e­men­tary, Fo­gelsville El­e­men­tary, Park­way Manor El­e­men­tary and Cetro­nia El­e­men­tary, along with Veter­ans Me­mo­rial El­e­men­tary, will be pre­sented to the board dur­ing its work­shop ses­sion Oct. 15, he said.

Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern are the re­vised bound­aries for Park­way Manor and Cetro­nia, which are among the most top-heavy schools in the dis­trict in terms of en­roll­ment, Trout­man said.

And the in­flux will con­tinue,

— Park­land Su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Snis­cak

he said — home con­struc­tion in Trexler Field, Breinigsvi­lle, along with the Spring View Apart­ments com­plex off Cetro­nia Road is driv­ing the en­roll­ment num­bers up, ne­ces­si­tat­ing the changes.

Cetro­nia is at 625 stu­dents and Park­way Manor has 610, well above what Park­land Su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Snis­cak said are ideal num­bers.

He said the goal is to have 450-550 stu­dents per school.

“That will al­low for op­ti­mum class sizes in all five of our schools,” Snis­cak said.

He said the com­bi­na­tion of adding Veter­ans Me­mo­rial and re­draw­ing the bound­ary lines will en­able Park­land to stop us­ing por­ta­ble class­rooms, as is the case at the four el­e­men­tary schools.

“We need to bal­ance our en­roll­ment; that’s the key,” he said.

Re­dis­trict­ing will not af­fect the bound­ary lines for the mid­dle schools or the el­e­men­tary schools in the north­ern part of the dis­trict, he said.

The com­mu­nity meet­ings will be held Oct. 21 at Fo­gelsville El­e­men­tary, Oct. 24 at Cetro­nia El­e­men­tary, Oct. 28 at Fred Jaindl El­e­men­tary, and Oct. 30 at Park­way Manor. Each meet­ing will be­gin at 6:30 p.m. and be in the school cafe­te­ria or li­brary.

Ad­min­is­tra­tors will re­quest that the board ap­prove the pro­posed bound­aries at its Nov. 19 meet­ing.

Let­ters will be sent Dec. 3 to all fam­i­lies af­fected by the re­dis­trict­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing their child’s new school for 2020-21.

Teacher trans­fer sur­veys will be sent to all K-6 staff on Nov. 20, gaug­ing who is in­ter­ested in re­as­sign­ment to an­other school, with a Jan. 17 dead­line for com­ple­tion. Staff as­sign­ments will be fi­nal­ized by March 18, Trout­man said.

Trout­man an­tic­i­pates 28 or 29 teach­ers will be as­signed to Veter­ans Me­mo­rial, in line with staffing at the four schools in Park­land’s south­ern zone.

Hires will be needed to fill the class­rooms, he said, but the dis­trict will largely staff the new school with trans­fers due to Ti­tle 1 re­quire­ments.

Veter­ans Me­mo­rial will be­gin with about 500 stu­dents but will be built to ac­com­mo­date up to 600, Trout­man said.

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