Changes proposed for Waterloo elementary school boundaries - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Changes proposed for Waterloo elementary school boundaries

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Students in Waterloo may see several changes when they head back to school this fall. The district is planning to build a new elementary school, tentatively named West Elementary, on the current Black Hawk Elementary site. This calls for students who attend Black Hawk and Edison schools to merge into the new building in 2011.

On Monday, the school board will decide whether or not to move those students a year early. They'll also consider shifting the current elementary school boundaries.

It all begins with the plans for West Elementary. The proposed school may be larger, but it can't fit everyone. Currently, the new facility is set to resemble Kittrell Elementary -- which holds about 460 students. Black Hawk and Edison Elementary Schools have a combined enrollment of about 600 students. Which means, for this to work, something has to change.

"We wanted to distribute that enrollment a little more equitably across the district," said Waterloo Community Schools representative Sharon Miller.

Miller said other elementary schools in Waterloo are getting crowded, while a few have room to spare. Which is why the district formed a group of more than sixty community members to take a look at the boundaries. They used a computer software program, and months of work, to look at the best solutions.

"Twelve different scenarios moving children from here to there in different ways. So then the work was to take those and come up with a composite that took the best ideas from all those different suggested scenarios," explained Miller.

The composite map may look like a lot of red ink, but it has many layers. Not only did the committee consider the number of kids in each school, they wanted to even out poverty levels, diversity, and driving time.

"To maximize the safe walking routes and minimize transportation costs," Miller said.

The final product is actually just a proposal. What's left is for parents to put their mark on the map.

"We ask people to take a look at the website to see the map, see what they think, give us some feedback," Miller added.

You can voice your opinion during the first of two public hearings, Monday, April 12, at 5:00. The board will vote on the new boundaries April 26th, immediately following the second hearing.

Both the final map and the current map with changes are available on the school's homepage. Click here for the Waterloo Community Schools website.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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