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Consultant sought on 'right-sizing' of Pine-Richland elementary schools

| Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Pine-Richland school directors support the idea of "right-sizing" lopsided enrollments at the district's three elementary schools.

But they don't know how to best accomplish that goal or how fast to shift the enrollments.

The school district's administrators want the board to hire a consultant this month to map a plan before March for possibly shuffling teachers and students around next year among Hance, Richland and Wexford elementary schools.

Whether such a timetable is feasible, however, won't be known until the administrators interview prospective consultants, then report back to the board.

"It seems awfully aggressive for a complete redistricting," school director Robert Necciai said about the timetable recommended by school administrators during an Oct. 24 meeting of the operational services committee of the school board.

"Especially over the (upcoming) holiday season," school director Kevin Nigh said, echoing Necciai's reservations.

Richland Elementary School enrolls 504 students, compared with 331 students at Hance Elementary School, and 415 students at Wexford Elementary School.

The operational services committee met to explore how to better balance the numbers.

Ryan Manzer, assistant director of finance, offered three options during a computer-generated, slide-show-type presentation of graphs and text.

One option is to do nothing.

Another option is to transfer some students from Richland to Hance elementary schools.

A third option -- the one recommended by district administrators -- is to shuffle students at all three schools according to a plan developed by a hired consultant.

Hiring a consultant could cost up to $25,000, but ultimately could save that much money, or more, in reduced transportation costs, according to Manzer.

School directors will learn more about the feasibility of undertaking full-scale redistricting when the operational services committee meets again at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 in the DeWitt Blank Conference Room at Pine Richland School District, 702 Warrendale Road, Pine.

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