Attendance Area Change: September 2024
In May 2022, the Rush-Henrietta Board of Education asked for a proposal to adjust school attendance zones to accommodate classroom space needs. During the June 13, 2023, meeting, Board members approved revised attendance areas that will impact some students in grades K-9 beginning in September 2024.
Why is this necessary?
Projections for the next five years are that student enrollment at Fyle and Vollmer elementary schools will grow past capacity; families at those schools may realize those buildings are nearly full. In addition, Burger Junior High is nearing capacity and projections show that its enrollment will grow. At this rate, Burger will have a significantly higher student population than Roth Junior High School in the near future. Using information provided by the towns of Rush, Henrietta, and Brighton, projections show Burger having 197 more students than Roth during the 2027-28 school year. Likewise, Vollmer is projected to have 185 more students than Sherman in the 2025-26 school year.
While it is the district’s responsibility to look at the big picture and do what is best overall for our students and families, we understand that change can be unsettling. From the beginning, each of the discussions and decisions were made with incredible care and thought. The adjustments are necessary to keep our schools functioning effectively and equitably. To be clear, this is not a district reconfiguration; it is a redrawing of attendance lines, a practice used successfully for decades to balance student enrollment in Rush-Henrietta and elsewhere. Less than eight percent of students will be impacted by these new attendance areas.
Each year, the district’s Instructional Space Committee is tasked with studying data and making recommendations about changes to attendance-area boundaries. Such changes are necessary to meet future instructional needs of our students. The committee consists of parent representatives from each school, as well as teachers and administrators who meet several times annually to compare instructional space and projected student enrollment. They view this information against the instructional space capacity of each of our buildings.
The space committee considered six options to address capacity concerns. Their goal was to balance student enrollment at the schools that are almost full, while limiting the impact of their proposed changes on others. The two best choices were presented to the Board of Education at its March 14, 2023, meeting. At its request, additional information was presented during the May 23 Board of Education meeting. The final decision of the BOE was made during the June 13 meeting. Recordings of each of those meetings may be viewed by clicking here.
The board unanimously supported shifting attendance zones for students mainly living in the area east of West Henrietta Road and south of Erie Station Road. This change will happen in September 2024. Those students will still attend Leary for K-3, but move to Sherman and Roth for grades 4-9. The map linked here and below shows this area represented by the orange shading with pink stripes. In addition, students living on the west side of the area north of Brighton-Henrietta Townline Road will attend Crane Elementary until grade 3 and will then move to Vollmer and Burger for grades 4-9. This is represented by the green shading with orange stripes on the map. Lastly, instead of attending Fyle, students in zone 12 will attend Crane, and students in zones 19, 25 and 31 will attend Winslow. Each attendance area on the map has a number associated with it. If the number is in a blue box, it is affected.
The board selected the option that addresses capacity concerns at Fyle and Vollmer without impacting other schools, particularly Sherman. It better balances student enrollment at our junior high schools, moving more students to Roth - the larger building - while alleviating overcrowding at Burger. As an added bonus, this attendance area shift will allow each of our schools to better reflect the many kinds of diversity in our incredible community.
The district has one full school year to make these changes happen. Dr. Casey van Harssel, assistant superintendent for human resources and school accountability, will share more information and answer questions at PTO meetings at Fyle, Leary, Burger, and Vollmer in October. At that time, we will be seeking input from families on how best to make this transition successful. He will be joined by principals from the schools that impacted students will attend in future years. We are proud of each of our schools and want to give you an opportunity to get to know their leaders.
When the 2023-2024 Instructional Space Committee begins meeting in the fall, it will revisit student projections and make any recommended minor changes to the Board of Education by January 2024. In early 2024, the transportation department will be developing new bus schedules and the Office of Human Resources will be working with principals to determine staffing needs.