USC plans to redistribute elementary students

Published Sep 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm (Updated Sep 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm)

The Upper St. Clair School superintendent told the school board Sept. 9 that the administration will be bringing a plan to the board to redistribute students in the elementary schools.

Patrick O’Toole said more students need to be funneled to the least populated school—Baker.

He said equitable enrollment is needed among the schools in order to distribute personnel among the schools in a fair manner.

O’Toole said the administration will take a hard look at the data in developing a proposal to the board to re-draw the lines dictating which children go to which elementary schools. He added it was hard to predict how many students would end up at each school until this year when they expanded the International Baccalaureate program to include kindergarten at Streams Elementary. He has said in the past that they would not get a true read on how many parents wanted their children in the IB program until it was permitted in all grades, because parents sometimes are reluctant to have their children change schools between kindergarten and first grade.

In February 2012, the school board voted to expand the IB program in all first and second grade classes at the school during the 2012-13 school year, expanding to kindergarten and third grade in 2013-14, and finally completing the transition with fourth grade in 2014-15.

The IB organization had directed the district to either adopt the organization’s program throughout Streams Elementary for the 2012-13 school year, or abandon the program at that level.

O’Toole said Sept. 9 that there is still one traditional section of fourth grade being taught at Streams. This will be the final year for any traditional classrooms at Streams, as all classrooms will follow the IB program starting next year. He said there are still waiting lists at the second, third and fourth grade levels to get into the IB program.

School board member Frank Kerber said he’d like a yearly report on the waiting list to get into the IB program at the elementary level, because he expects demand over the years to only grow.

O’Toole said 15 children transferred from Streams to Baker this year, presumably to remain in a traditional rather than IB classroom.

He told the board that the district started the new school year this year with 4,108 students, down 37 from the number they finished with at the end of the last school year—4,145.

O’Toole said 356 seniors graduated in June, but only 225 kindergarteners started school in the district last month. That is the smallest group at any grade level in the district this year. The largest is the fifth grade level, at 374. O’Toole said this large gap is very unusual.

The enrollment for this year at the three grade schools is: 396 students at Baker Elementary, 481 students at Streams Elementary and 503 students at Eisenhower Elementary.

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