New Schools Map Adds More Streets, Parents Mum at Meeting
Few parents attended Wednesday's School Committee meeting when members voted for a new school district map.
The Dedham School Committee unanimously approved a new district map that will move dozens of streets to different elementary schools.
It was the committee's second vote on redistricting after parents argued they were not included in the discussion of the first plan, presented in March.
The second map added streets both near Dedham Square and near the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Walnut streets.
Changes proposed by parents over the past two months of debate include relocating streets like Worthington, Richards and Marsh from the Riverdale Elementary School district to the Avery Elementary School district.
"I thought a lot of parents got a chance to get involved in the process," newly elected School Committee member Jennifer Barsamian said after the meeting. "I just wish it happened earlier in the year, because it left us at a point where we had to vote [Wednesday]."
The committee had to agree to a new map before the district sent home letters to parents of incoming first graders.
No parents spoke during Wednesday's meeting, and only a few attended.
Current elementary students will still be grandfathered into the policy, as it only applies to incoming first graders without a sibling in an elementary school.
The policy subcommittee considered grandfathering in the 11 families that would be impacted immediately, but the district's need to begin the process of shifting enrollments outweighed that option, Barsamian said.
Superintendent June Doe stressed that any parent whose street moved has the option to send their child to the new school, or keep them in their current building.
The plan aims to reduce enrollment at the Oakdale Elementary School, which had 344 students this year. The building, the district's oldest, needed relief.
That matched with the state's directive to bring the new Avery's enrollment as close to 310 students as they can meant the district needed to reshuffle the lines, Doe said.
"It is a very gradual modified plan," Doe said. "It tries not to be disruptive."