Response to the School Redistricting Proposal from the Triple Crown Jockey Club Families

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A Response to the Elementary School Redistricting Proposal from the Families of the Triple Crown – Jockey Club Neighborhood

Dear Members of the Boone County Board of Education,

First, we want to express our gratitude to the Boone County Board of Education (BCBoE) for addressing the mounting problem of overcrowding at our schools by creating a new elementary school, Steeplechase Elementary. With the right redistricting, the opening of Steeplechase Elementary could reduce or eliminate the over-crowding occurring within Hillard Collins Elementary and New Haven Elementary. However, based on the two redistricting options presented at the Board of Education Special Meeting on October 13, 2020, we believe we are missing the opportunity to accomplish this goal. It appears that neither scenario simultaneously eliminates the over-crowding at both Collins and New Haven while adequately addressing what is educationally best for ALL of the Boone County students. Below are some of our concerns for each scenario:

Flaws with Scenario 1:

  • Opens a brand-new school at capacity, even though Steeplechase, Triple Crown, and surrounding areas still have land that will likely equate to additional housing in the future.
  • Brings the Collins population almost 25 percent under capacity, even though the area's population is not increasing and has limited capacity to do so in the future. Why does this school need to be 25 percent under capacity?
  • Busses 319 children from Collins more than 7 miles one-way through parts of Florence, Union, and into Walton.
     

Flaws with Scenario 2:

  • Fails to solve the issue of Collins Elementary being at-capacity.
  • Busses 149 children from Collins more than 7 miles one-way through parts of Florence, Union, and into Walton.
  • Brings New Haven to just barely over a half-filled school. What is going to happen with all of the empty classrooms and current resources?
  • Still does not leave much room for growth at Steeplechase Elementary, considering Steeplechase and surrounding areas have land that will turn into additional housing in the future.
  • Isolates the Jockey Club neighborhood from the larger Triple Crown Community as a whole. This is very troubling for the families of the Triple Crown Community. The smaller neighborhoods within the Triple Crown Community are interconnected, and it is disconcerting to these families that their children will not be able to attend school with their neighbors that they interact with regularly.  
     

In reviewing the two scenarios that have been brought forward for public input, we would like for the Boone County Board of Education and the Demographics and Growth Committee to help us understand the following: 

  • Why are Steeplechase Elementary, Hillard Collins Elementary, and New Haven Elementary the only schools that are in the two proposed redistricting scenarios?
  • Why are these the only two scenarios that the board is voting on for a final decision in December?
  • How many other scenarios did the School Board and Demographics and Growth Committee review before narrowing it down to these two, and why were they ruled out?
  • Why should a child have to sit on a bus for over 14 miles round trip down backroads each day to obtain an education when there are several elementary schools in closer proximity to Hillard Collins Elementary?
     

Due to the flaws identified in both scenarios and the outstanding questions we have for the Boone County Board of Education and the Demographics and Growth Committee, we ask the Boone County Board of Education to bring forward new redistricting scenarios. These scenarios should be more respectful of keeping larger communities together instead of breaking off small neighborhoods from each other.

We acknowledge and commend the Board of Education members for attempting to prioritize access to the resources a new school would bring to those children who are more financially disadvantaged in our county. We as parents want every student to have the best chance of success, not just those living under our roofs. However, we feel that creating a new school located many miles away from the heart of the issues at hand and then bussing students over long distances to get there is a superficial fix at best.

Therefore, we also ask that the school board members work diligently to create a better long-term solution for bringing enhanced educational resources to the areas of the county that need them the most. We ask that these new scenarios first be presented to the public for input, and eventually to the Board of Education for a final vote. Finally, we ask that these new scenarios more effectively solve for the overcrowding at New Haven and Collins while truly putting ALL of the Boone County students first.

Sincerely, 

The Families of the Triple Crown Jockey Club Neighborhood