The USD 383 school board has approved on second reading new boundaries for its elementary and middle schools for the upcoming school year.

The board voted 6-1, with board member Brandy Santos opposing, to accept the redistricting committee’s option 4, which allows students living along Scenic and Ledgestone Drives as well as Stone Pointe to stay in Manhattan instead of being bused to Ogden.

During the pre-meeting public comments section, Manhattan teacher and resident Sharon Davis said that her concerns with redistricting stem from the discrepancy of busing of children from Ogden and unwillingness to inversely bus children from Manhattan to Ogden.

“I have in more recent years gotten quite engaged in Ogden with work there, with both the school and community. And therefore I wanted to speak up on their behalf. I’m quite concerned about the redistricting of busing kids from Ogden and we aren’t willing to bus children from Manhattan to Ogden. That does not make sense for the community’s welfare,” Davis said. “In Ogden, when we see that they are at 60 percentile of capacity at this time, and looking forward will be much under capacity compared to Manhattan grade schools, I think that it’s imperative that this body reconsider the idea that we couldn’t bus children from Manhattan when we can bus children from Ogden.”

Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid expressed his thanks to his team and RSP consultants for making this project a reality.

“It’s a extremely difficult thing to do. You weigh out so many different things, and I appreciate the board’s guidance when he when it came down to us making selections,” Reid said. “You were there to point us in the direction you wanted to, and we tried to be faithful to that so I’m grateful for the team. I don’t know if you’re ever happy with something like this, but I think we we did the best we can with the circumstances and and the charges we had before.”

With the addition of Oliver Brown Elementary School to the roster, Whispering Meadows resident Jeremy Deeds  says his neighborhood should be included in the proposed boundaries as the decisions made are years old and do not take modern housing and student numbers into account.

“I want to take you back to 2013 when USD 383 purchased the 29 acre lot to the south of Whispering Meadows. This is important because you held that property for five years, which heavily influenced whispering meadows and the families that came to it,” Deeds said. “In 2018, you made the deal to move that school approximately 1.2 miles from Whispering Meadows. This agreement between Blue Township and USD 383 in my belief was done, because it was cheaper with the infrastructure already and utilities already taken place in the areas around the school district or the proposed site.”

“The deals that took place in 2013 and 2018 heavily influenced our neighborhood, and to exclude us because of our income or number of elementary age kids in our neighborhood is nonsense. The fact is with a school in our backyard, it’s going to decrease possible accidents with busing children to school instead of using highway 24,” Deeds said. “KDOT reports 12,500 vehicles travel daily, 800 of those are heavy commercial traffic. At the end of the day, the board’s making this decision and you should heavily consider the community because it’s us you serve, and we make up our district, not title one dollars, graphs, ethnicity or numbers.”

In other business Wednesday, board members voted 7-0 for final approval authorizing offering for sale of taxable general obligation refunding bonds, and funding purchases for bond projects. Those items considered were:

  • The purchase of Cisco networking equipment, technical support and licenses in the amount of $468,820
  • The purchase of iPads and Mac books  in the amount of $179,725
  • Final approval for the guaranteed maximum price bid package from elementary renovations and site work, which includes the alternate accepted in the amount of $1,502,579
  • Final approval for the bid from Cytec in the amount of $62,852 for purchase of short throw projectors associated equipment and installation at Eisenhower and Anthony Middle School
  • Final approval to move forward with the asbestos abatement of Eugene Field Early Learning Center in the amount of $56,962
  • Final approval of the proposal submitted  for playground equipment and synthetic turf replacement at Amanda Arnold Elementary in the amount of $331,056
  • Final approval of the proposals submitted for the multi school roof replacement project in the amount of $34,810
  • Final approval to the bid submitted for the asphalt and concrete parking lot repairs at North View Elementary in the amount of $47,500
  • Final approval to the proposal submitted for the purchase and installation of bleacher seating in the middle school locations in the amount of $54,392

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