Friday, March 3, 2023

FPS: Redistricting Analysis Update and Community Forum Letter to Families Feb 27, 2023

February 27, 2023

Dear FPS Families,

This past September, we shared information regarding the redistricting analysis process during the 2022-2023 school year to help us identify the Franklin Public School District's short and long-term needs. The decision to conduct this analysis was driven by the following:
●  The 2021 closure of Davis Thayer initiated an expansion of the Helen Keller Elementary School attendance boundary. While we continue to use space flexibly, we seek to maintain a long-term balance among schools.
●  A facilities assessment conducted by Kaestle Boos in 2020, at the time of the Davis Thayer analysis, recommended multiple scenarios of how to utilize space across the district. This assessment did not account for shifts in space usage required for specialized programs and how we utilize space to adequately support student learning. Thus, requiring additional analysis to inform decision-making through this lens.
●  According to the Franklin Public Schools Population and Enrollment Demographics Study, the total enrollment is forecasted to decline until approximately 2027 and then gradually increase.

These factors influenced the decision of the School Committee to have a formal and comprehensive analysis conducted.

Recognizing that redistricting impacts our families, faculty, and greater community, conducting a thorough analysis before proposing any solutions is necessary to inform future decision-making. To ensure this was a community-informed process, we assembled a Redistricting Analysis Advisory Committee composed of parents/guardians, building-based staff representatives, and community members. This committee met monthly with the contracted redistricting consultant Applied Geographics (AppGeo) from November through February to review district data, outline guiding principles, preview communication materials, and provide input/feedback on proposed scenarios. More information and meeting presentations are available on the Redistricting Analysis webpage.

Also, an internal working group composed of FPS staff and a School Committee representative meets regularly with AppGeo to inform and structure the process, which we have outlined below.

FPS - Redistricting Analysis Process
FPS - Redistricting Analysis Process

As we enter the public input stage, we are pleased to extend opportunities to learn more about the proposed scenarios and collect feedback from the community. The feedback provided during our upcoming public forums and input survey will inform the district's recommendation to the School Committee for a vote in the spring of 2023. The decision to implement any recommendations, including potential changes to current boundaries, is a School Committee decision.

The community is invited to attend the Redistricting Analysis Public Forums, which will be held on:

Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 6:00 PM in the Franklin High School Media Center
Monday, March 13, 2023, at 6:00 PM, virtually via Zoom  Meeting ID: 897 0568 6636 Passcode: 930061
Please note both forums will present the same information.

The following options will be presented in March.

Option 1 - Proposes that current district attendance boundaries remain the same while a Master Facilities Plan is conducted. ASMS/Keller spaces will continue to be used flexibly. Both administrative teams at the complex will continue to work together to utilize the available space to accommodate the needs of all students.

Option 2 - Proposes a change to district attendance boundaries in an attempt to balance enrollment while also maintaining geographic contiguity and undertaking a Master Facilities Plan, which may result in further redistricting based on the outcome.

Option 3 - While the current district attendance boundaries remain the same as Option 1, there is a consideration for including a "Buffer Zone" for designated areas of the former Davis Thayer attendance boundary, which could allow families to opt-in to Oak Street and/or Parmenter Elementary School for specific zones as a special consideration.
ASMS/Keller spaces will continue to be used flexibly. Both administrative teams at the complex will continue to work together to utilize the available space to accommodate the needs of all students. When necessary, small group instruction for Keller students may occur in nearby Sullivan spaces—understanding that the results of a Master Facilities Plan could reassign attendance boundaries for students in future years.

Buffer Zone Considerations in Option 3:
1. The District will not provide transportation, and parents/guardians of students who request to transfer must transport their child to and from school.
2. Requests are taken on a first-come, first-served basis based on room availability.
3. Families approved for the voluntary buffer zone opt-in may be subject to a reassignment of their district boundary pending the results of a Master Facilities Plan.

The feedback provided during our upcoming public forums and input survey will inform the District's recommendation to the School Committee, which will be presented to the School Committee and later voted on in May 2023.

If you are unable to attend one of our informational sessions and still wish to provide feedback, we encourage you to utilize the story map paired with the input survey that will be launched by March 7th, to understand the proposed options and provide feedback accordingly. The deadline for survey responses is March 15th, 2023.

We have created a Redistricting Analysis webpage that hosts informational resources (such as a Frequently Asked Questions sheet) and outlines our efforts thus far. I encourage individuals to review the redistricting analysis webpage and email with any questions. All emails are directed to our internal working group for the redistricting analysis.

We look forward to connecting with our community to answer questions and collect feedback on the proposed options on March 7th and March 13th.


Lucas Giguere 
Superintendent of Schools

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