More students on the move?

More Center Grove elementary students would transfer schools under an updated redistricting plan.

Center Grove has to move students who live on the south side of the district to other schools because Center Grove and Maple Grove elementary schools are running out of room. Originally, school officials planned to move about 100 students from Maple Grove, but now the plan is to move about 200 students, Superintendent Richard Arkanoff said.

Moving that many students creates a domino effect at the other four elementary buildings to ensure there’s room at all five schools if enrollment continues to climb, Arkanoff said. In all, about 500 elementary students, or close to 15 percent, will have to change schools under the new plan, he said.

Center Grove officials also are reviewing whether changes are needed at the middle schools but don’t know how many students that could affect or when, Arkanoff said. Neither middle school was part of the redistricting plan proposed in January, but parents told Arkanoff that if Center Grove is going to redistrict either middle school it should be done now, not in a year or two.

Parents should receive an updated redistricting plan from the school district this month, and Center Grove will host a second informational meeting March 4. The school board could vote on the plan two weeks later.

School officials originally planned to ask the board to vote this month, but waiting ensured the district could address all the questions and concerns parents raised in January, Arkanoff said.

“We got a lot of parent input, and we really wanted to consider that,” he said.

Dozens of parents and residents who attended Center Grove’s first informational meeting said they were worried about the plan to move 370 students to different schools. Parents told school officials and board members that they had moved to Center Grove with plans to send their kids to specific schools. They wondered whether the original plan to move 100 students from Maple Grove was enough and whether the school district should include the middle schools as part of the redistricting plan.

Parents also said the redistricting news was a surprise. They said they were worried whether administrators would listen to and make changes based on their concerns.

About 40 people spoke at the first meeting, and Center Grove has received about 60 emails with questions and comments about the redistricting plans, though some of those came from people who spoke at the meeting, Arkanoff said.

The school district has been posting answers to questions on its website, and Arkanoff has met with residents in different neighborhoods so he could answer their specific questions.

The format of next month’s meeting will be similar to the one in January. School officials will listen to comments and questions from residents about the updated plans and make any necessary, last-minute changes to the redistricting plan. The school board has to vote on the proposal in March so that officials will have enough time to plan for the changes happening in the fall, Arkanoff said.

As school officials finalize their plans for Center Grove’s current students, they also are identifying land that doesn’t have any houses now but that could be developed. If new neighborhoods or subdivisions are created in the school district, officials want to be clear that no one can promise where those students will attend school, Arkanoff said.

At a glance

Here’s an updated timeline for Center Grove’s redistricting plan:

Feb. 20: Parents should receive the details for Center Grove’s updated redistricting plan.

March 4: Center Grove will host a second community meeting.

March 19: The school board will vote on the plan.