With a final vote looming, some Fayette County school board members said Friday they are considering at least a handful of changes to a redistricting committee's proposed plan.
But board members don't know yet if they can accommodate the requests of some residents in neighborhoods that include Seven Pines, Hunting Hills, Copperfield and Plantation without significantly disrupting a plan that's been a year in the making.
"Is there a way to accommodate some of these changes without creating a whole disruption to the plan?" board chairman John Price said in an interview.
Board members asked district staff to help them sort out that answer, Price said.
Given that the redistricting committee took a list of guiding principles into consideration in drafting the proposal, board members are trying to determine the implications if they allow certain neighborhoods to stay at their current schools.
The school board is meeting again about redistricting and about the search for a new superintendent on Saturday morning. A final school board vote on the redistricting plan isn't expected until June 1 or later.
Board vice-chairman Melissa Bacon on Friday raised the concerns of neighbors in Hunting Hills.
Residents of Squire Oak and Hunting Hills have said that decisions about their neighborhood, which included moving it from Edythe J. Hayes Middle School to Tates Creek Middle, were made late in the redistricting process, and their voices were not heard.
Additionally, Copperfield and Plantation residents have asked that the area remain at Beaumont Middle instead of being moved to Jessie Clark. Bacon said that under the proposal, students in Copperfield and Plantation would not go to high school with the same group of students with whom they go to middle school.
Board member Daryl Love asked staff for information about a proposed move for the Seven Pines neighborhood. Residents there have concerns about being reassigned from Glendover to Picadome Elementary, he said.
In addition to possibly redrawing attendance boundaries, school board members are looking at several recommendations from the redistricting committee about special programs.
Under one proposal, all Spanish immersion students at Cardinal Valley, Liberty and Northern would be allowed to continue to go to those schools and continue at Spanish immersion middle school and high school programs, even if their home address were reassigned to another attendance zone.
As part of the discussion on the Spanish immersion programs, board members said they wanted to revisit a policy that allows siblings of Spanish immersion students at Maxwell Elementary to get preference for admission as long as the older student in the family remains in the Spanish immersion program.
Board member Daryl Love questioned whether that sibling policy was fair to students who were on a waiting list.
Fayette County is redrawing attendance boundaries for the first time in more than a decade in anticipation of two new elementary schools in the fall of 2016 and a new high school in 2017.
A document that district staff gave to board members Friday noted that the school board's plate is full right now with decisions that need to be made quickly. One of those decisions is choosing a new superintendent.
The document said the "community has grown tired of school rezoning and is hungry for final action" but that board members have the prerogative to take more time because the new schools won't open for another 14 months.