Olentangy Schools: Redistricting plan outlined for elementary schools

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
This map shows the new attendance boundaries for Olentangy Schools' elementary schools, as outlined during the March 25 school board meeting.

Olentangy Schools has announced its plan to realign attendance boundaries for its elementary schools in preparation for the opening of the new Shale Meadows Elementary School in Berlin Township in August.

Students who will attend Shale Meadows currently attend either Cheshire or Arrowhead elementary schools, according to Scott Leopold of Cooperative Strategies, the district’s partner in the redistricting process. Leopold addressed the district’s board in a recorded video message during the board’s March 25 meeting.

In all, Superintendent Mark Raiff said, 760 elementary school students will be affected by the redistricting. Of those, 542 will make up the student body at Shale Meadows.

An interactive map is available at the district’s website, olentangy.k12.oh.us, allowing users to enter their address and be shown the elementary school they will attend. Links leading to "find your school" begin on the homepage. Or go to tinyurl.com/5etf9x4v.

Shale Meadows will open under capacity, Leopold said, allowing for future growth in the attendance area in the Berlin Meadows subdivision in particular.

To take advantage of new capacity at Cheshire and Arrowhead, students from overcapacity schools will be moved, Leopold said. Specifically, some students from Johnnycake Corners Elementary School will move to Cheshire, and students from Heritage Elementary School will move to Arrowhead.

Arrowhead is one of the larger-capacity elementary schools in the district, Leopold said, and this new attendance boundary will allow for growth in the Evans Farm and Glenross developments.

Additionally, crowding at Olentangy Meadows and Glen Oak elementary schools in the Polaris area was able to be alleviated by moving some students to Alum Creek Elementary School.

“This (redistricting) creates a good balance that allows schools to accommodate growth over the new few years,” Leopold said.

“This also helps position us for future redistricting that we know is coming,” Raiff said.

No changes were made yet to middle school or high school boundaries.

Raiff cautioned that will occur, though, at least at the middle school level, when the district’s next middle school, its sixth, opens for the 2022-23 school year. He also said the plan should help the district as it decides where its next elementary school should be built. 

Raiff credited the work of Cooperative Strategies, along with the district’s 14-member redistricting committee.

Committee member Erica Fouss told ThisWeek the group has worked hard to create boundaries that “make sense” and also to “affect the least amount of students.”

“We didn’t want to move people just to move people,” Fouss said.

Such factors as keeping neighborhoods in which students walk to school intact, bus routes and the feeder pattern from elementary to middle school were considered, Fouss said. For example, students from Arrowhead previously fed into three different middle schools, but that number was reduced to two in this attendance plan.

She said feedback from three community forums on redistricting helped inform the process.

The district also announced that the mascot for Shale Meadows would be the Monarch, with the logo being a butterfly.

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