August 20, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain school realignment likely postponed

LORAIN — School realignment, tentatively set to begin in August, will likely be postponed a year, Superintendent Tom Tucker told the Lorain Academic Distress Commission Monday.

“We feel we need to do a lot more education next year,” Tucker said. “Spend more time explaining it and getting out there and working with (parents).”

Tucker’s plan calls for pairing schools near one another and reducing the average student busing distance from about two miles to 1.5 miles or one mile. Parents with children in different schools would rely on buses.

The plan calls for five preschool through second-grade schools and five third- through fifth-grade schools. There would be three sixth- through eighth-grade middle schools.

The district operates 10 elementary schools, which are preschool or kindergarten through sixth grade. There are two seventh- and eighth-grade middle schools, the Lorain High School annex, which houses ninth-graders, and the temporary Lorain High School for 10th- through 12th-graders. A new high school is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 school year.

Realignment, partially in response to shrinking enrollment and changing demographics, would decrease class sizes and is designed increase teacher collaboration and test scores. Smaller class sizes would also allow the school district to reduce teachers through attrition, Tucker said.

The savings would allow the district to bring back elementary arts and music classes that were cut in 2012. Tucker said between 300 and 350 parents responded to a survey in March about the proposed realignment. Many said they needed more information about the realignment, but most said they wanted arts and music to return.

“It’s got to come back in some way or form,” said Tucker, who took over in 2012. “I’ve known that since I came here.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.