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North Hills redistricting now down to 2 options

Tony LaRussa
| Thursday, March 10, 2016, 10:36 p.m.

The North Hills school board on Thursday narrowed its choices for dealing with anticipated increases in elementary student enrollment to two options that will come to a vote next week.

Despite developing eight detailed redistricting maps during the nearly year-long process of trying to even out capacity at the district's four grade schools, the two remaining choices were the last added to the mix — including one that materialized Monday.

Some residents and board members were angered about the late addition.

“I truly believe it's too late in the game to add this option,” said school Director Kathy Reid.

“This is the kind of thing that goes on behind the scenes that really upsets me.”

The new redistricting option would reduce the number of students attending McIntyre Elementary by about 56 and Ross Elementary by about 88.

To do that, 67 children would have to move to West View Elementary, and 77 would go to Highcliff.

School Director Annette Giovengo Nolish defended the late addition, saying the district “owed it to our students” to explore as many options as possible to address anticipated overcrowding.

A Carnegie Mellon University professor estimates that by 2019, enrollment at Ross Elementary could increase by 139 students, McIntyre could get 108 more pupils and Highcliff, 17.

West View's enrollment is expected to decrease by 36 pupils.

A second option, which the superintendent announced in late January, would put off the need to move students around by increasing slightly the number of students in some grades.

The average elementary class size, which is 21.7 students, would increase to about 23.3 students, about 7.4 percent.

To get enough board support to place that option on the agenda for next week's meeting, it was tweaked to give the superintendent the option of increasing class size “as needed” rather than enacting an across-the board increase.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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