Housing Growth May "Shake Up" Linn-Mar School Boundaries
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
MARION, Iowa - Parents in the Linn-Mar School District in Marion may soon hear more about shifting boundaries for students.
Earlier this month, the growing district set up a “boundary committee” to look at possible changes in attendance boundaries for elementary and middle schools. Administrators say growth is usually a good thing for districts. But new housing developments and future housing growth in Marion is concentrated in certain areas. And that is throwing enrollment numbers out of balance at a few schools.
There is no firm boundary change plan yet. But Indian Creek Elementary is one of the schools operating near capacity now. So some of the students going there may possibly have a new school home next fall as the boundaries change. One Indian Creek parent, Celeste Luksetich, went through a similar process in the district four years ago. She says parents are often more concerned about changing schools than the kids.
“Kids are pretty resilient—better than adults in a lot of circumstances,” Luksetich said.
The last time Linn-Mar changed individual school boundaries was back in 2009. That was necessary due to the opening of a new school.
Dirk Halupnik, deputy Linn-Mar superintendent, said this time the issue is an enrollment disparity at Oak Ridge and Excelsior Middle Schools. Halupnik said the boundary committee will try to avoid “splitting” elementary schools so kids continue to attend the same middle school. But there is no guarantee volunteers can come up with a workable plan to accomplish that.
Halupnik said Linn-Mar parents have seen school boundaries shaken up, on average, every three or four years going back to the 1990’s. It’s one result of a growing district. He said that experience makes the changes more manageable.
“There is always anxiety with change for everybody involved. But because we’ve been through this process before, as I said, our teachers and administrators are used to it. And we have a handle on dealing with it,” Halupnik said.
The deputy superintendent said the committee weighing options will try to draw new attendance lines to make the biggest impact on the unbalanced schools while uprooting the fewest students from current schools. Linn-Mar parents can get a look at that balancing act on December 4th, which is the tentative date for an open house to look at the proposed changes. The final plan will go on to the Linn-Mar School Board at the December 9th meeting.
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