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Some Waynesboro kindergartners might be reassigned next year

June 07, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Waynesboro Area School District
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WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Some kindergartners who would have been assigned to Summitview or Fairview elementary schools in Waynesboro will instead be sent to Mowrey Elementary School next year.

Assistant Superintendent Evan Williams said the decisions are being made because of space constraints and are indicative of a bigger problem in the school district.

For 2011-12, Williams predicted a "full-scale redistricting" and elimination of an enrollment policy in which parents can choose to send students to the school nearest to their baby sitter.

All of Summitview's kindergarten classrooms are full with 22 students each, with more registrations anticipated this summer, Williams said.

Letters have been sent to families, warning them not to expect that their kindergarten students will attend Summitview, especially if they live in an area north of the Waynesboro borough line and east of Pa. 997 to and including Gehr Road.

"Mowrey does have room," Williams said, saying Hooverville Elementary School also has one room available for afternoon kindergarten.

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He said he doesn't yet know how many children will be affected by shifts and said each case is being reviewed on its own merits.

An average incoming kindergarten class has about 325 students. The assistant superintendent said this class will exceed that figure, but he doesn't know by how much.

The incoming population seems to be high in Summitview's boundaries and especially high within Fairview's boundaries, Williams said.

Some parents register a child for kindergarten in Waynesboro's public schools, then enroll him or her elsewhere for full-day kindergarten, Williams said. The Waynesboro Area School District offers extended-day kindergarten only for "at-risk" students, he said.

Mowrey Elementary School has six classrooms available in half-day increments. Williams said the staffing level isn't an issue.

Redistricting looms, as does restructuring the district's open-enrollment policies, Williams said.

"That's the only path we have because we do not have the room," he said.

Some grades are approaching the point where each class is at its maximum size guideline, which ranges from 22 students for kindergarten to 27 students for fifth and sixth grades, Williams said. One classroom at Mowrey has 29 students, and that school's principal is working to move a few students from crowded grade levels to other schools, he said.

One option to create space would be teaching music and art from moveable carts and reusing those classrooms, but Williams said the most crowded school, Summitview, already uses the cafeteria for music and art instruction.

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