Board Approves Change To Optional Zone

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The Great Neck Board of Education unanimously approved a change to the district’s optional attendance zone, which pertains to residences zoned for E.M. Baker School and South High School or Saddle Rock School and South High School, at a recent meeting. A map of the area can be viewed at www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/GNPS/Pages/newzone.htm.

The optional attendance zone was implemented by the Board of Education for the 2008–09 school year to combat overcrowding and balance student enrollment among the secondary schools. The practice allowed students from E.M. Baker and Saddle Rock elementary schools, which are normally zoned for South High School, to exercise the option to attend North Middle or North High School instead. This successful solution resulted in near-identical enrollment numbers on both North and South campuses through the 2017–18 school year.

To maintain the balance of student enrollment moving forward, the Board of Education has adopted a revision to the optional attendance zone that allows only students entering sixth grade and residing within the optional attendance zone to attend North Middle School instead of South Middle School. Any other request for a school assignment that differs from a student’s designated attendance zone will only be considered through the variance process, which has addressed such requests for many years.

“The optional attendance zone has alleviated overcrowding and equalized enrollment in our secondary schools,” said Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz, who added that the board monitors school enrollment data through monthly reports. “The optional attendance zone continues to be in the best interest of our students.”

Dr. Stephen Lando, assistant superintendent for secondary education, presented an optional attendance zone analysis to the Board of Education at a previous meeting, which can be viewed at www.greatneck.k12.ny.us. The presentation provided past enrollment data from the optional zone and enrollment projections. It demonstrated great accuracy regarding past projections and Lando is confident in the projections for the next five years.

“The optional attendance zone has been an ideal solution without adding expenses or disrupting service, while maximizing district resources,” explained Lando.

Based on enrollment projections, this revision to the optional attendance zone will ensure the effectiveness of this program moving forward.

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