My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Report of Redistricting Consultant

On April 23, 2009, the district released a “Community Presentation on the Proposal to Close Mark’s Meadow School”. This report provided an overview of our district, the history of and projected revenue and expenses for the Town of Amherst, and factors for the Committee to consider as it determined whether to close Mark’s Meadow School, a vote that was finalized by the Amherst School Committee in May.

The consultant from DeJong-Healy concluded that both redistricting renditions achieved the primary goals of achieving balance among the three remaining elementary schools with respect to percentage of students eligible for free/reduced price lunch, maximizing school capacities, and keeping students from individual apartment complexes and neighborhoods together. Additionally, the consultant concluded that both renditions provide adequate space for enrollment through FY14.

A copy of the final report of DeJong-Healy is on the district webpage at:


Anonymous said...

It appears that Maria Geryk is sitting as Assistant Superintendent. Is this correct?, and who is Doug...the other name on this document beside Kathy Mazur? Also, who are the 24 'nonunion' faculty who got raises? And did the super have his okay in this?Thanks!

Rick said...

Seems like a good report.

Note that this conclusion:
“Based on the review of the data, the redistricting options presented to date achieve the primary goals as stated by the District.”

…is not on the conclusions page (27) but on page 25. I was confused for a bit until I found that because the "Recommendations & Conclusions" section mainly talks about "to do" items and doesn’t have any conclusions in it.

Anonymous said...

Catherine- What was the purpose of this report? Was it just to gather data? Will the district hire a firm to re-draw the lines?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

Anonymous 7:24 - Maria is sitting as assistant super, Doug Slaughter is in IT (does a lot of data stuff for the district, and drew the maps). I don't have the list in front of me, but it was administrators (principals, people in IT, HR, business office, etc.). These raises were all settled prior to July 1st, so then interim-super Maria Geryk signed off on these.

Rick - I think it was a good report ... certainly comprehensive in terms of showing census data and projections.

Anonymous 9:39 - the purpose was to make sure that the maps drawn in district were reasonable, in light of our criteria, and to get some new data (e.g., demographic projections and income data that was much more fine-tuned by AREA of town). From what I understand, lines are drawn by people in district because they rely on some type of transportation software that is district-specific. I believe the two potential maps are being examined, and some tweaking will occur by someone in house, and then the superintendent will make a recommendation. I am going to try to get clarity on this (timeline, process) at the next meeting, which I think will be in August.

Anonymous said...

Now wait just a minute:

We can't move forward until we've had the next round of "do-overs".

The do-over on the library budget.

The do-over on the closing of Mark's Meadow.

As Yogi said, "it's not over until it's over." And, in Amherst, even then it's not over.

Redistricting? Wait until all those self-appointed as "the smartest person in Town" get a hold of that one. Life is a faculty meeting.

Amherst: Where the "Question Authority" Ethic Runs Amok

Anonymous said...

You nailed it on the head!!!

Anonymous said...

Love it!