Education

Fayette Schools redistricting committee moves Fairway, Kenwick from Morton to LTMS middle school

Lexington Traditional Magnet School
Lexington Traditional Magnet School Lexington Herald-Leader

The Fayette County Public Schools redistricting committee on Thursday moved the Fairway and Kenwick neighborhoods from Morton to Lexington Traditional Magnet middle school.

This means students at Ashland Elementary will be assigned to attend LTMS, instead of being split between LTMS and Morton.

Redistricting committee chairman Alan Stein said after Thursday's meeting that he thought moving Fairway and Kenwick to LTMS would "lead to the same kind of success and improvement" that had occurred at Ashland Elementary.

Some Lexington residents had fought reassignment of neighborhoods from Morton Middle School to LTMS.

Morton is ranked in the state accountability system as "distinguished/progressing" and LTMS is classified as "needs improvement/progressing," though teachers say LTMS has a high-achieving, rigorous program.

In January, the committee proposed moving Fairway, Kenwick, Mentelle Park and Bell Court from Morton to LTMS.

Residents in the Fairway neighborhood wrote to the redistricting committee that among the reasons they did not want their children to attend LTMS was that LTMS was comprised primarily of students from lower-performing elementary schools. Some schools that feed into LTMS have transient student populations, the letter maintained, with students moving into and out of its boundaries during the school year.

The committee decided to keep Fairway and a nearby neighborhood, Kenwick, at Morton.

Some residents who live in Bell Court and the Mentelle Park area, who also had been tentatively reassigned from Morton to LTMS, told committee members they didn't care whether they wereassigned to LTMS or Morton, but they didn't think the children who attend Ashland Elementary should be split between LTMS and Morton. They wanted them all to go to the same middle school.

When the committee discussed feeder patterns Thursday night, members decided that moving about 51 students in Fairway and Kenwick to LTMS met the committee's criteria about capacity, feeder patterns and socioeconomic balance. "Feeder patterns" refers to which elementary schools feed into specific middle schools, and then into specific high schools.

Under the committee's previous decisions, Morton was "dramatically over capacity," Stein said.

The redistricting committee is redrawing attendance boundaries in advance of the opening of two new elementary schools in 2016 and a new high school in 2017.

Stein said the committee would take no more public comments before giving a recommendation to the school board in a few weeks. He said the committee had reviewed all public comments it had received for the past year. The committee has two more meetings scheduled — on April 8 to finish a discussion on feeder patterns, and April 14 to publicly present its recommendation for the school board. School board members can then make changes if they choose.

The committee made several other changes Thursday, generally based on feeder patterns. They included:

Students who go to Booker T. Washington will consistently go to Winburn Middle. Previously, some were going to LTMS. The homes affected were in the Georgetown Road corridor.

An area around The Red Mile was moved from Beaumont to LTMS.

The Cleveland Road corridor was not moved to the new high school and a elementary school as proposed but was kept at Athens-Chilesburg Elementary and Henry Clay High.

Children who live around Squires Elementary would go to Tates Creek Middle and Tates Creek High schools instead of Tates Creek Middle and Henry Clay High School.

Students who live on Trent Boulevard and attend Veterans Park would attend Southern Middle, instead of Tates Creek Middle.

In an email to families, Stein said Some of the changes included sending all students at Arlington Elementary on to Bryan Station Middle. At the middle and high school level the committee moved the attendance boundaries to ensure that all students at Tates Creek Middle attend Tates Creek High and that LTMS will now feed just three high schools instead of four.

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