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School plan to relieve overcrowding will mean shifting 660 kids

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Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010 3:16 am | Updated: 1:24 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS — Changing school boundaries is never easy because families and kids get attached to local schools that can become like a second home.

But sometimes it has to happen because there are more students in the neighborhood than seats in the classrooms.

That’s true now in North Pole and at Ladd Elementary School, off Trainor Gate Road, and the attendance area maps are about to be redrawn in a big way.

The school district has released its largest boundary change in many years with a plan that will mean attendance area revisions for eight elementary schools from North Pole to University Park starting in August 2011.

The solution is complex because there is a domino effect when you move hundreds of students to keep classes from being overcrowded and try to keep the level of disruption to a minimum.

The problem is an imbalance between the school rooms and where the students live.

North Pole and vicinity has seen a building boom in recent years because land is cheaper and more available for new subdivisions. The three elementary schools in North Pole are maxed out, with more growth expected.

Also, the conversion of the Birchwood Estates 400-unit complex off Trainor Gate Road to private apartments has led to an increase of more than 200 students at Ladd Elementary School.

A North Pole advisory committee began studying the boundary question last fall, leading to a school district plan to solve the overcrowding problems in North Pole and Ladd by moving 660 students to new attendance areas. The local approach has long been to keep boundaries as stable as possible and to make major changes only when needed.

There will be a series of public meetings starting Monday to go over the details, which have been covered in letters mailed to parents and sent home in kids’ backpacks this week.

Here is what will happen at the start of the 2011 school year:

NORTH POLE: About 80 students who live south of Hurst Road and along the Richardson Highway from Kelly to Lasalle, will move from North Pole Elementary to Badger Road Elementary.

TICASUK BROWN: About 110 students who live on the north post of Fort Wainwright will move from Ticasuk Brown Elementary School to Ladd Elementary School.

LADD: About 160 students who live in the Birchwood housing area off Trainor Gate will move from Ladd Elementary School to Nordale Elementary School in Hamilton Acres.

NORDALE: About 50 students living south of the Mitchell Expressway and at Lakeview Terrace will move from Nordale Elementary to University Park Elementary School.

BADGER ROAD: About 125 students who live in the Peede, Brock and Bradway roads area will move from Badger Road Elementary School to Ticasuk Brown.

HUNTER: About 50 students who live off Sloan, Conley and Peggy streets off the Old Richardson Highway and 6 Mile Village will move from Ticasuk Brown Elementary to Hunter Elementary School.

JOY ELEMENTARY: About 85 students who live in the Slater Drive area and the area west of the Steese Highway will move from Nordale Elementary to Joy Elementary School.

•••

MEETING TIME: Information about the boundary changes will be presented during a series of meetings starting Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Ladd elementary.

There also are meetings Wednesday at Badger elementary, April 22 at North Pole elementary, April 28 at Ticasuk Brown and April 29 at Nordale. All of the meetings are at 6:30 p.m.

•••

GOOD RECEPTION: Meet the three finalists hoping to become the next superintendent of schools at a community reception today from 7-8:30 p.m. at Denali Elementary School.

•••

BIRTHDAY BASH: The Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre invites all friends of the Bard for a birthday party April 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the chancellor’s home at UAF.

Tickets are $30 in advance and available by calling 457-POET.

In addition to admission to this event, those who attend the birthday bash will receive a ticket to a performance of one of the summer shows, “Two Gentlemen of Verona” or “Measure for Measure.”

The evening is sponsored by UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, Sherry Modrow and the theatre board of directors.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

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