The Olentangy Board of Education gave its take of the final attendance boundaries at its meeting last week.
The final boundaries would affect more than 2,100 students in the district for the 2018 to 2019 school when the fourth high school is opened. Superintendent Mark Raiff presented the final version at the meeting.
“I’ve had numerous people ask me are we done?” with redistricting, board member Julie Feasel said Thursday.
The answer: Depends, said Scott Leopold.
“We’re halfway there as far as units,” said the project director of educational planning firm DeJong-Richter, which assisted with Olentangy’s redistricting. “If everything is rezoned to residential, single-family we’re halfway there. If that stops and we still have some agricultural land left in Olentangy then you’re closer to the end.”
“You’re a desired school district. People want to move in,” he said.
Raiff’s decision Tuesday came after the Attendance Boundaries Committee had six meetings and three community forums since October.
Students in the class of 2020 at Orange and Liberty high schools can elect to stay at their current schools.
“I did not grant this same ability to the class of 2020 who will be going from Olentangy High School to Berlin. There will be over 300 students in that class,” Raiff said. “… the group is a large group going together creating a new culture, being leaders for two years. And they are also needed at this new school to have that critical mass of students we need to run all the academic programs and the extracurricular activities.”
Additionally, eighth graders who will be redistricted to Olentangy High School as sophomores can apply for an intra-district transfer for next year to start at Olentangy, but requests will be looked at on a case-by-case basis, he said.
Raiff said the latest redistricting could last five to 10 years. There was a decade-long gap between the openings of Olentangy Orange and Berlin high schools, but the recession delayed the latter’s construction.
Feasel said the superintendent has the sole authority to determine the boundaries as laid out in the Ohio Revised Code.
“We are sticklers for separation of powers,” she said.
Board member Kevin O’Brien added: “If it was the board’s decision, the map would look crazy.”
Construction of Berlin High School is under way, while the district is close to selecting a principal. The district interviewed 14 out of 60 candidates who applied for the position. The district had selected the final four candidates, which will be interviewed again in April.
“Parents, students and other staff members will be in the final interviews to provide input. A decision will be made toward the end of April,” Feasel said in a social media post.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.