Parents criticize plan to change Millard schools’ attendance boundaries - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 10:56 am
Parents criticize plan to change Millard schools’ attendance boundaries

Parents gave poor grades Monday to a proposed plan that would change the Millard Public Schools’ attendance boundaries.

Eighteen people in a standing-room-only crowd told the school board that the plan is rushed, illogical and unfair to kids. Only one spoke in favor.

Dan Abendroth, who lives in Western Oaks, said his eighth-grade daughter has her sights set on attending Millard West High School. The proposed boundary change would send her to Millard South.

“Picture this: You’ve grown up your whole life a Husker fan, and they change the border, and now you’re an Iowa State fan, whether you want to be or not,” Abendroth said.

Millard Superintendent Keith Lutz assured the crowd of 150 people that he intends to recommend a plan with flexibility. A final plan is expected to be given to the school board Dec. 2.

Lutz said he would recommend grandfathering in current high school students and allowing middle school students and fifth-graders to apply for transfers to the high school to which they are currently assigned.

Siblings, too, would gain flexibility to follow an older brother or sister into the same elementary school, he said.

Lutz said he still is studying the enrollment numbers to ensure that, with such flexibility, the plan would achieve its goal of alleviating overcrowding in some buildings and better utilizing others.

The plan would adjust boundaries at the elementary, middle and high school levels, including shrinking the attendance boundaries of Millard West High School to rein in forecasted overcrowding.

That would involve shifting some neighborhoods currently in the Millard West High attendance area to Millard North and Millard South.

Jon Blumenthal, a resident of Armbrust Acres, said the process lacked transparency. He said there was no need to rush the plan just to meet the December deadline.

“It seems to be moving with the speed of a freight train,” he said.

Board members said they moved forward with the plan in response to an uptick in the economy that suggested housing construction would pick up.

By acting now, board member Mike Kennedy said, the plan can be more flexible than waiting until new housing overfills schools and a more rigid plan would be needed.

Contact the writer: Joe Dejka

joe.dejka@owh.com    |   402-444-1077

Joe's beat is education, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school.

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