Major changes in Elkhart district schools for 2013-14 school year

Elkhart schools will see some changes at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. The Elkhart Board of School Trustees approved redistricting, school bell and busing changes to offset a $2 million shortfall in the district’s transportation budget.

The board’s unanimous decision was made in an open meeting Tuesday morning, May 7.

Roosevelt Elementary which houses grades kindergarten through second, and Hawthorne Elementary, a third through sixth grade school, will revert to kindergarten through sixth grade classes. Eleven of the district’s 14 elementary schools will have new school boundaries in the upcoming academic year. The board says the new boundaries will affect less than 200 elementary-level students.

All students in the district will be impacted by new school start and end times. Ten minutes will be cut from Middle school and high school students’ schedules. The new school day runs from 7:30 a.m. until 2:35 p.m.

Elementary school students will see the biggest changes to their schedule. The elementary school day will increase by 70 minutes, running from 8:45 a.m. until 3:55 p.m. The board believes the longer day will provide more instructional time for classes such as science and social studies, as well as add in time for at least one art class per week.

Students currently on a “choice” transfer will no longer receive busing. After the board’s decision, these students will be allowed to remain at their choice school but must find their own transportation.

Any fifth grade students affected by the boundary changes will be allowed to stay at their current building to finish out their final year of elementary school if they apply for a choice transfer. But, the board ruled that parents are responsible for providing transportation. Siblings of the “grandfathered” students will attend their new neighborhood school.

All these changes to the Elkhart district, from new start times to new boundaries will help offset much of the funding cut without having to increase class sizes or cutting academic programs. The board says the district is also saving money by not replacing some 30 teaching and administrative positions.

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