Which 3-5 School Will You Be Closer To?

A commenter pointed out a link to a cool presentation from Cooperative Strategies regarding the upcoming CSD redistricting that provides some interesting maps and CSD school enrollment projections for us to ponder.

We’ve seen versions of many of these maps and tables before, but I thought the “Closest School Analysis” for the 3-5 schools, featured above, was a neat, new view.  It shows which school you are physically closer to after CSD builds the Talley Street 3-5 Academy.  I was surprised which one we were actually closer to.

Now just to be clear – these aren’t the boundaries, or even PROPOSED boundaries.  Just a look at distances from the two schools.  So save your energy. 🙂

What else do you see in these maps/this data of interest?

21 thoughts on “Which 3-5 School Will You Be Closer To?”


  1. The dividing line in that map, running straight through most of the existing K-3 boundaries, also shows one of the fundamental difficulties the committee will face. How to fit five K-2 schools into two 3-5 schools? Seems inevitable that some classmates/neighbors from K-2 district will be split apart once they get to 3rd.

    1. Actually, there is an option that would keep all of the schools intact, which is to send Westchester, Clairmont and Glenwood to Talley, and Winnona and Oakhurst to F.Ave. If keeping feeder schools was the number one priority, this plan could accomplish it. However, it would destroy walkability for just about everyone except Oakhurst and Glenwood (Winnona Park wouldn’t even go to Talley, which is in Winnona Park). This plan exacerbates the north/south split. And Talley would get a vastly disproportionate number of the lower income kids, which hampers PTA etc.

      Another option that keeps feeder schools intact would require a large shift in the boundaries for each K-2 school. Essentially, think of rotating all of the boundaries clockwise (about 1/3 of Oakhurst would go to Westchester/ 1/2 of Westchester would go to Clairmont, 1/4 of Clairmont to Glenwood; 1/4 of Glenwood to Winnona, 1/4 of Winnona to Oakhurst). I think next to random school assignments, this re-districting option could piss of the highest number of people.

      The best walkability option for the 3-5 schools (essentially a East/West split), would end up splitting Clairmont as a feeder school. However, that option has some issues relating to utilization when the K-2 aren’t re-zoned (Oakhurst and Winnona are at or above capacity, while Clairmont is at 69% capacity). There isn’t an easy way to even out that capacity without really, really affecting walkability (ie taking kids who could throw a baseball at their current school being re-districted).

      I think the decision to separate boundaries from capacity was a significant mistake – College Heights added into the mix would have fixed most if not all of the boundary issues.

      This process has been interesting, and I’ve found that there are two lenses to view it. (1) Be pissed off that you’re not zoned for your current/closest school, or (2) be thankful that all of the schools in the COD are remarkable, and that no matter what, our kids get to go there. As involved as I am, my paradigm depends on what side of the bed I woke up on that morning.

  2. Sigh. Northwest Decatur will end up with an even longer and less picturesque drive to the 4/5. The drive is shorter as the crow flies but crosses both the railroad tracks and Downtown, both of which are pains at any time of day before 9 PM. And the crows won’t fly our children across town. I don’t hate the 4/5 concept but I sure don’t love it.

      1. But those schoolbuses will pick up children at an hour much earlier than school starts, which is already fairly early. The earlier pickup times are to get children to school for breakfast, but don’t really fit into the schedules of families who feed their children breakfast at home. I really wish there were some way to work this out so that more children would take the bus.

        1. For example, The bus picks up kids on my street, Adair, at 6:41 to get them to school at 7:10 a.m. So that’s about a half hour on the bus. School starts at 7:45 a.m. So, students would have to ride a half hour on the bus and get to school about a half hour before school starts.

          1. Diane hit the nail on the head. And the traffic problem caused by the inconvenient bus schedule is about to hit other parts of town that have been spared so far. This is a fixable problem, so CSD please fix it.

                1. The only way to accomplish that is to put MORE buses on the roads, clogging up traffic even further. The buses circulate through the schools. In order to get FAVE kids to school with the current fleet of buses, then k-3 kids, then RMS ad DHS, pick-ups have to be staggered. If we add another fleet the traffic through town will be twice as bad.

              1. I’ve never figured out the fix. One reason the buses get students to school early is because some of the students on any bus are eligible for free/subsidized breakfast, an important school service that gives students from low-income families the nutrition to handle a full day of school (and sometimes after school as well). Those students are not living in just one location–they are scattered in rentals all over the city in between our high end homes. The transportation logistics are complex.

          2. So run the busses twice? That seems a waste and breakfast is important. I would rather have a slow transition of bus, breakfast or social time and morning work then rushing to bus and school right into classwork.
            A better plan might be to push the start time back a bit. Though that would mess with middle and high school start times and bus schedules as well.

      2. Also, buses don’t work for parents who use the after school program in the afternoon. (Is it still called Whiz Kids?) Not saying that these are unbearable hardships, just that it’s a pain that makes the 4/5 configuration less attractive.

        1. I am not sure I see how a parent’s need of the on-site after school program is a school system/bussing problem.

          1. Oh it’s not. It’s just explaining that buses will not mitigate a lot of the need for cross town driving.

  3. Has there been any official word about whether elementary school populations could be split when heading into third grade, or will they be trying to keep schools intact through the switch? Seems like it will set up a pretty clear winners/losers situation based on your school if they decide to split up students by geography.

    1. Current elementary school parents should think now about what would make the transition easier for students and families. Let CSD, school SLT, and school board members know. The transition planning and implementation for the 2005 reconfiguration was inadequate and not student- or family-friendly. The last configuration transition was handled much better.

  4. Some of my best memories of my boys was seeing them walk out of the house and chase each other to Clairemont. miss those K-5 days when riding a bus was not an option. Took them less than 5 min to get to school walking/ running.

  5. As a parent who has lived through many elementary school “redistrictings” since 2000, I’m glad my kids are finally old enough that I can sit this one out.

    However, some advice for the worried parents – breath, relax, adapt, enjoy.

    All the schools are good. There are no losers. If kids who live across the street go to different 4-5s, they will all come together again at Renfroe. Changing schools and walking/riding bikes will give them a chance to meet new kids, get some exercise, be more independent, and let them see different parts of town. Yes, you will have anxiety about them crossing busy roads – College/Scott/Claremont – but they will get to school safely – the guards and helpful parents will get them there.

    1. The 4-5 model created complicated bussing (due to both geography and another school start time), which could be solved by simply having more busses.

      But we still did it. If I had to make a list of ways my children suffered at the hands of CSD, a long bus ride would not be high on the list. One kid had a long bus ride to FAVE. Both kids walked and crossed busy roads. And a train track. And one kid sometimes even walked 1+ miles home from FAVE when she wanted to hang with a friend after school.

      Before the Renfroe construction, I recall that they did an audit for a week and estimated 25% of kids were driven to school daily.

      So parents — breath, relax, adapt, enjoy — and lighten up and let your kid either walk to school or ride the bus. It’s what kids do. I suspect that your driving to school likely creates more congestion than those school buses. 25% of the number of kids on a school bus is a lot of cars. Plus the walkers who get driven.

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