Redistricting options discussed by Big Walnut BOE


With two buildings currently under construction, the Big Walnut Local School District is discussing redistricting.

A new elementary, Prairie Run, is planned to be open in 2020, so the district has held a public information session and taken a survey to look at options for those that may have to switch schools. According to a handout provided by the district, the criteria for the new boundaries include: “Use natural boundaries if possible; avoid splitting neighborhoods or subdivisions, and try to draw lines along major roads if possible; move as few students as possible for 2020 and 2023; balance building utilization, but also be mindful of future residential growth.”

Cropper GIS Consulting, LLC is assisting BW with redistricting. On Sept. 30, they presented two options, each to be implemented in two phases. With both options, there would be 184 K-4 students impacted twice: For the current school year the students are at Harrison Street Elementary School; in 2020-21 they would be at Prairie Run; and they would be at another elementary (currently called the Intermediate School) in 2023-24.

The public survey was completed Oct. 20, with an internal planning committee meeting on Oct. 25. An advisory committee meeting is on Nov. 11. A recommendation will be given to the school board on Nov. 21, to be voted on Dec. 12.

These are the upcoming changes to the district’s facilities: The new 500-seat Prairie Run Elementary serving grades K-4 will open fall 2020. Harrison Street school, currently an elementary, will serve Pre-K students in fall 2020. The new Big Walnut High School, serving grades 9-12, is expected to open in fall 2022. The current BWHS will serve grades 7-8 in fall 2022. The current Big Walnut Middle School will serve grades 5-6 in fall 2022. Finally, the current Big Walnut Intermediate will become an elementary in fall 2023.

The district recently had a walk-through to show construction progress on the buildings.

Also in the district, the Big Walnut Board of Education recognized buildings and students at its evening meetings.

On Sept. 19, Hylen Souders Elementary Principal Matt Cox had his students show a film about their video announcements, which resembled a newscast. Souders’ Ava Oakes (Student of the Month) and Rachel Chalfant (Art Student of the Month); along with Big Walnut Middle School’s Regan Holmes (Student of the Month) and Nate Snead (Art Student of the Month) were also recognized. The students received an eagle paperweight award, and the artists get to have their work on view at the board office through the school year.

On Oct. 17, General Rosecrans Elementary Principal Kate Thoma had students from a physical education class demonstrate a stick dance. GRE’s Ella Okoneski (Student of the Month) and Claire Wilson (Art Student of the Month); as well as BWI’s Sophia Melvin (Student of the Month) and Leah Hohenbrink (Art Student of the Month) were recognized. Lastly, a groundbreaking plaque with a shovel was presented to the district by Bob Sewell of Gilbane Building Company.

At the October Big Walnut Board of Education meeting, students demonstrate a dance they learned in physical education to the song “We Will Rock You.” the October Big Walnut Board of Education meeting, students demonstrate a dance they learned in physical education to the song “We Will Rock You.” Gary Budzak | The Gazette Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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