Groton schools won't have to redistrict for next school year

Groton — The implementation of a school redistricting plan, originally scheduled for next week, will be deferred until at least the 2013-14 academic year.

The news does not affect the middle school consolidation plan.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Randall Collins said Monday that the district has not yet received an official letter from the state Department of Education ordering the district to eliminate the racial imbalance at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet Elementary School.

"I spoke to Laura Anastasio, an attorney specializing in redistricting at the state department," Collins said in a letter to principals late last week. "She stated that once the letter arrives, we would be required to appear before the state board in September or October to present our plan and, hopefully, receive approval. Given these facts there is no way that redistricting will occur this September, but rather, in the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year."

Milone & MacBroom Consultants, a New England firm with offices in Branford, has been helping with the redistricting plan. Collins said a report of their work would be presented at the school board meeting tonight. "Milone & MacBroom have all the data necessary to come up with a plan that will meet all the state regulations and processes for approval."

Collins said he is still exploring options to alleviate crowded classes at Kolnaski and Pleasant Valley schools that must be addressed for the 2012-13 year.

Collins and school board Chairman Kirsten Hoyt said the extended time frame gives the district time to make a better plan.

"The plan that's been approved is not workable," Collins said. "This gives us time to go forward with a comprehensive plan in an orderly, rational fashion."

The approved plan was supposed to become policy as of Thursday, the last day of school, and be in place for the September opening.

"The way we were moving with it, I think we would have tried to solve a problem with less than a 100 percent solution," Hoyt said. "So now we have the time to get it right and make sure our plan is a viable one, rather than try to get it done by next week. It's definitely going to happen. But it's wise for us to take the time to get the right plan in place."

c.potter@theday.com

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