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Marshfield

Redistricting plan moves 178 students

In an effort to relieve overcrowding, the Marshfield School Committee voted Tuesday to adopt a redistricting plan that affects four of the town’s five elementary schools.

The plan moves 135 students out of South River Elementary School, considered the most crowded, and 43 students out of Eames Way Elementary School. The Eames Way students will to go South River, while 56 South River students will go to Martinson Elementary School and 79 to Governor Winslow Elementary School.

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Daniel Webster Elementary School is not affected.

The plan was known as Option D, the last of four alternatives the committee considered. The vote was 3 to 2, with chairwoman Marti Morrison and members Nancy Currie and Dennis Scollins voting in the affirmative.

Morrison said in a telephone interview that committee members Carol Shrand and Kate Tracey preferred a similar plan, Option C, which would not have moved any students from Eames Way.

Eames Way parents previously delivered to the School Department a written analysis and a petition opposing the school’s inclusion in redistricting.

“All of us were advocating for Eames Way, but in a different way,” Morrison said. She said some committee members believe Eames Way is functional and wanted to minimize the number of students moving, while others believe the school needs more space for special programs, such as motor-skills learning and technology.

Redistricting should open three or four rooms at Eames Way for such programs, she said.

The plan also moves about 75 prekindergarten students from Governor Winslow to Martinson. One of the original goals of redistricting was to house all of Marshfield’s preschoolers in one building. The plan does not accomplish that, but it does mean there will be one preschool on the north side of town and one on the south, she said.

Tracey said in an interview that she favored Option C because it affected fewer students. The freeing of space at Eames Way would have happened naturally in a year or two because of declining enrollment, she said.

“I’m obviously not happy about how the vote went,” she said.

Eames Way parent Tamara LoVuolo said moving Eames Way students will cause unnecessary heartbreak for children, not only at Eames Way, but also at South River, where the number leaving the school is higher so South River can accommodate students from Eames Way.

She said people in the community who supported Option D did so based on predicted class sizes that the district could change.

“Anybody that supported D supported it for the wrong reasons,” she said.

Two of LoVuolo’s children will be moved to South River, and none of her daughter’s kindergarten classmates will go with her, she said.

Options C and D were crafted based on an outpouring of parent comments and complaints after two previous alternatives — A and B — were made public by the redistricting committee.

Governor Winslow parent Jenny Coyle told the Globe in a Feb. 2 article that the original redistricting plans would divide her Brant Rock neighborhood, sending some of its students to Daniel Webster. Now, that will not happen.

Morrison said the committee is sensitive to the effect on children — both those who are moving and those left behind.

“There are students who are not leaving their school, but all their friends are,” she said.

Jennette Barnes can be reached at jennettebarnes@yahoo.com.
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