BCPS Redistricting

Zach Combest, Website Editor

Redistricting and overcrowding causing a strain on the county once again.

The Bullitt County Board of Education voted on a redistricting proposal on Monday Nov. 27.

Overcrowding was the topic of discussion at the monthly board meeting. A proposal was passed with a vote of three to two. This new change will impact many students and not just from Bullitt East.

Two plans were discussed at the meeting. The meeting was focused on Pleasant Grove Elementary (PGE), Eastside Middle and Bullitt East High School (BE). The numbers say there are too many students at PGE. The school, built for 600, currently has about 640 students and families just keep moving in. The numbers at Bullitt East and Eastside also continue to grow causing a strain on resources and space at both schools.

Superintendent Keith Davis said there’s plenty of room at Freedom Elementary, which he said is a Blue Ribbon School. His plan to move a couple hundred students from the east side of the county to the north side also includes transferring some Eastside Middle students to Hebron Middle and Bullitt East High School students to North Bullitt High School. Students with just a year to go at Eastside or PGE would not have to change. Davis is retiring at the end of the school year and he doesn’t want to leave this issue to the incoming superintendent.

In Davis’s plan students that live in Miller’s Crossing and English Mill subdivisions from Pleasant Grove, Eastside and Bullitt East will be moved to Freedom, Hebron and North Bullitt. In the proposal Davis gave the board, he stated “I suggest allowing 2018-19 fifth grade students, 8th grade students and 11/12 grade students to be exempt from this mandatory redistricting as long as their families can provide transportation to and from school.” Davis estimated about 53 students would be moved from Bullitt East to North Bullitt. The current enrollment at Bullitt East is 1463 and after the redistricting would be 1410. Principals would still be able to accept transfers. Davis wanted to move students to North since there is more room there than at Bullitt Central. North Bullitt’s current enrollment is 1253.

Davis’s plan was not approved on Monday. Instead School Board Chairman Debby Atherton’s plan was approved. The approved plan was to move students that live between Salt River bridge and Halls Lane in Shepherdsville from their Mount Washington schools to the schools in Shepherdsville. “I felt like if we had to move students, which is not a fun thing to do, it seemed to make more sense to me to move students who live within a mile from their school. I’ve had conversations over the years since the last redistricting to bring kids from the Bullitt East boundary to the Salt river bridge, I’ve heard a lot of negatives,” said Atherton.

She believes now students will be able to get more involved within their school because it would be closer geographically to their home. “We did not let them (parents) speak till after we (the board) made the decision because I didn’t want anybody to feel like being there and speaking made us make a decision because of that. After the decision we had parents speak and mostly they were glad,” said Atherton.

“I don’t think we’re done, but we’ve got some plans and we’re renovating Bullitt Lick right now. We are looking at building a new and bigger Old Mill and renovating Old Mill to be like an annex building to Bullitt East which would really help,” said Atherton.

Atherton said that the numbers of students being moved to Shepherdsville schools are a larger number than Davis’s proposed plan. In Davis’s plan, he was going to move 53 Bullitt East students and in the approved plan they will be moving 61. The plan will be set for the 2018-19 school year. Incoming fifth graders, eighth graders, juniors and seniors won’t be impacted by this plan. Students will also have the chance to transfer, but their parents would have to provide transportation. “As a district we have a lot of population growth,” said Atherton.

Davis has called this plan a temporary fix for the already large population in Bullitt County. Atherton believes this is a good solution for now, but she does realize later down the road a change will occur again. “Down the road we’re probably gonna have to look at where do we put the next school. Before I was on the board, they built Zoneton and Freedom and both of those schools have plenty of room so growth in the north is set,” said Atherton.

“Mr. Davis has said that he didn’t know that I was going to bring an alternate plan. I told the secretary to put me on the agenda that I was bringing another plan so it wasn’t a surprise,” said Atherton.