BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) – At a board of education meeting Wednesday night, a consultant hired by the Bristol Public Schools said the city is changing.
Patrick Gallagher with the SLAM Collaborative presented data to the board and reported that there are more older people without school-aged children moving into Bristol. Gallagher said over the next ten years, student enrollment will continue to decline.
Because Bristol neighborhoods are changing, the school board decided redistricting was necessary. They started talking about plans last March. The redistricting plan posted online has two phases.
Under phase 1, Edgewood School, a pre-K through fifth-grade school, would become just pre-K. The superintendent says they are doing this to increase access to pre-k programming.
The kindergarten to fifth-grade students will be sent to other the 7 other elementary schools starting next school year.
Districts would change again under phase 2. Phase 2 starts in 2025 and the goal is to make grade configurations consistent between schools. West Bristol and Greene-Hills would transition from K-8 to K-5 schools and the brand new Northeast Middle School is expected to open.
The maps with the new districts are posted online but superintendent Catherine Carbone says those maps could change once they have new enrollment projections in the fall. Carbone did not mention when the final maps would be shared with families.
For some families, these changes are coming after their kids dealt with two years of school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really hard, I find that those are the key years when they’re building their writing skills and their learning skills and I see a lot of them falling behind because of this,” said Andrea Hiestand, a Bristol parent.
Heistand says this could be a hard adjustment for her young children and others.
“You’re shifting his social environment right now, you’re putting him in a new environment with new people, new teachers, a new school where [he] might not know where a simple thing like the bathroom is,” she said.
The district is holding community forums in October and November to hear from parents about the plan.