Brunswick school redistricting set, new start times delayed

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BRUNSWICK — The School Board Wednesday unanimously approved a redistricting plan characterized by Superintendent Paul Perzanoski as the “East/West split.”

A decision about changing start times at each school was tabled pending further research by the board.

The district lines use Mere Point Road and Maine Street as boundaries between Coffin and Jordan Acres elementary schools, effective July 1, 2011 for incoming kindergarten students. Current kindergarten and first-grade students will be “grandfathered” at the schools they attended this school year.

Several streets will be included in the Coffin district, including South, Coffin, Bowdoin, Berry and Whittier streets; an adjacent portion of Maine Street within walking distance of Coffin School; Longfellow Avenue, Grove Street Extension, Atwood Land and the adjacent portion of Park Row.

A motion to include Meadowbrook Road in the Coffin district failed, and a clarification will be provided at a later date to residents of Rossmore Road, which was split in half on the redistricting map.

“When does it stop?,” board member Michelle Small said, referring to the addition of individual streets at a family’s request.

Perzanoski said redistricting will be revisited in two years, after current students have moved on to the next school.

Perzanoski had also suggested staggering start times along with the redistricting plan. He suggested start times at the high school and junior high school be moved to 7:35 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., respectively, from the current 7:50 a.m. and 8 a.m., while elementary school times remain the same or be pushed back 15 minutes to 9:10 a.m.

Several parents expressed concern about changing start times, particularly at the high school and junior high. Dana Bateman said there are benefits to later start times for teenagers, and noted the most common objection to starting the school day later regards the impact on after-school activities and athletics.

“I understand why we need to do a staggered start,” she said, but maintained that an earlier start at the high school is “the wrong direction.”

Board members noted the need for additional information following a vote to table the matter. John Jones was the only member who objected to tabling.

“The (new elementary) school isn’t going to open for a while,” board member Janet Connors said. “We need to discuss in detail, we need to do more research.”

Board member James Corey suggested a workshop in January to hear from school officials and medical professionals about start-times impact on students’ learning ability.

“It really merits having an in-depth discussion,” he said. “The sooner we can get this hammered out, the better.” 

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net.

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Remembering Longfellow

BRUNSWICK — With Longfellow Elementary School closing next spring, plans are being made for a celebration of the school’s history on May 13, 2011, from 6-8 p.m.

Assistance from members of the community in collecting memories, memorabilia and pictures is requested. Alumni, past employees, family of alumni and others with ties to the school are being asked to contribute items to display at the gathering.

Photos and messages may be uploaded to a Facebook page, found under Longfellow Elementary School Alumni. The e-mail address is rememberlongfellow@gmail.com.

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