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Parents speak out about Perry Township redistricting proposal

The school board is considering multiple options that would impact a parent's ability to pick a preferred elementary school.

INDIANAPOLIS — Perry Township school board members are considering multiple options that would impact a parent's ability to pick a preferred elementary school for their child.  

13News has been covering this story since October, when the district said a bus driver shortage would impact school choice. 

The school board is looking at three proposals for the best way to get students to and from school.      

Some parents have said they worry about their children adjusting to a new school, and losing the friends, teachers and school community they chose for their children. Those parents came to a special meeting Monday, where they will ask the board to let their kids stay at their current schools.   

We heard from moms who have children at Jeremiah Gray Elementary School. All their children may have to leave their school if the district adopts new elementary school boundaries.

"She has expressed to me some trepidation about being in a brand new building that she's never been in before with brand new teachers that she's never met , surrounded by kids that she doesn't know," said parent Elizabeth Janes.

The administration says the district is short almost 40 bus drivers. Hundreds of students are getting home an hour late daily because of lengthy transportation to choice schools. 

Credit: Perry Township schools
Perry Township proposed elementary school boundaries.

"By adding boundaries around Rosa Parks and Jeremiah Gray elementaries, it in essence shrinks the boundaries for all others. And so our big issue is the time and distance issue if we're taking kids from county line road all the way up to Abraham Lincoln, which is on the north side of our district, we have a time issue and a distance issue," said Assistant Superintendent Chris Sampson.

"The driver shortage is not a localized problem," said parent Samantha Kirk. "This is a nationwide problem, and we are the only school district that is considering removing bus routes to resolve the problem? There has to be another solution."

The proposed boundaries would force almost one-third of elementary students to switch schools.

"Almost three years after the pandemic, we're voluntarily talking about uprooting these kids and displacing them again and forcing them to reform their social networks and start all over," said parent Leslie Wells. "And it comes at an odd time as the district is trying to close those gaps. It doesn't make sense to do this right now."

The school board could consider allowing kids to stay at their chosen elementary school if parents provide transportation. The school board asked for Monday’s special meeting to hear from parents about the new boundary proposal. The administration will make a recommendation to the board and then the board will vote on that recommendation December 12 its regular meeting.  

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