Hilliard City Schools will postpone changing attendance boundaries for elementary schools

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group

Hilliard City Schools will wait to undertake redistricting of the district’s 14 elementary schools, according to a recommendation from Superintendent John Marschhausen and Deputy Superintendent Mike McDonough.

Redistricting had been proposed for the 2021-22 school year at the elementary school level.

Although limited shifting might occur to accommodate all-day kindergarten, a districtwide change to elementary-school attendance boundaries should wait until several variables can be more clearly defined, Marschhausen told the school board Jan. 25.

The Hilliard City Schools Central Office is at 2140 Atlas St. in Columbus.

Development is occurring “at a faster pace” than expected, Marschhausen said, citing the Quarry Trails project north of Trabue Road and the Alton Place and Sugar Farms developments near Alton Darby and Renner roads, all in various stages of development.

Another variable is determining how many students will shift back to elementary school buildings from the Hilliard Online Academy after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic subsides, McDonough said.

The online academy is an option the district provided for families who did not want to participate in hybrid, in-person learning during the pandemic.

“It is in our best interest to pause (redistricting),” McDonough said.

Yet another consideration is getting a better idea of how the district will present an operating-levy request, Marschhausen said.

The district had planned to consider an operating-levy request – its first since 2016 – but did not because of the pandemic considerations.

Board President Mark Abate said “it makes a lot sense to press pause” on redistricting.

Although a timetable isn’t clear, Marschhausen indicated redistricting would not be considered in the near future.

Later this year, the district’s facilities committee will resume meeting and consider updated enrollment projections, he said.

Marschhausen said he didn't anticipate a redistricting plan until 2022.

Meanwhile, the district will “be mindful” of crowding at three elementary schools with the highest capacity and among the smaller buildings in size – Horizon, J.W. Reason and Ridgewood – and make necessary adjustments, McDonough said.

The district's 14 elementary school buildings include two campuses, Britton-Norwich and Alton Darby-Darby Creek, at which students in kindergarten through the second grade are in one building and students in the third through fifth grades use the other. This reduces the number of elementary-school attendance boundaries to 12, according to Stacie Raterman, director of communications for the district.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo