Apr 20, 2017 7:40 PM

Schools officials choose to split up Manchester elementary school despite arguments against it

MANCHESTER — School officials passed a redistricting plan that splits an elementary school into two separate middle schools after many argued against it.

READ: Manchester school officials OK redistricting

Lizabeth MacDonald, principal at Weston Elementary School and ward one resident, said the redistricting proposals looked "very good" for the elementary school she works at because students would go to one middle school, instead of being split up.

“Ideally it would be great if all schools went to one designated middle school," MacDonald said during the board meeting.

The Board of School Committee ultimately approved on a redistricting that would break up Beech Street Elementary School into two separate middle schools.

"When you take and single out one school – Beech Street School – and you split those children, I feel bad for them as a mom," said Manchester resident Patrice Benard.

Many attendees who voiced their opinion at the board meeting felt that splitting up students from those they went to elementary school with would not be fair.

MacDonald told the board that the end of the school year can be a nerve-wracking time for fifth graders, especially if they are getting separated between different middle schools.

"We are disrupting their lives, and these are children that are becoming teenagers that are already going through a lot of struggles," said Manchester resident Glenn Ouellette.

Redistricting, which takes effect next school year, is part of a three-part project. A study has also been scheduled to aid in improvements.

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