DMPS REDISTRICTING: Parents Unhappy With Plans

Des Moines school officials have a major decision before them.

The district is redrawing elementary school boundaries and drawing fire from parents upset with the plans.

Sara Harrington`s house is filled with art her children made, “I’m very, very proud of their work.”

She says almost all of the art was made at the school she and her husband picked out.

“Looking for our house we were basically looking at a zip code. You know we were just like, okay, to our real estate agent, okay, 50312.”

She says her family chose this home so her kids could walk to Hanawalt Elementary.

“We knew this was a neighborhood our kids wanted to live in. We knew it was such a good community,” Harrington adds.

But DMPS`s proposed redistricting would send kids in the Waterbury neighborhood across I-235 to Windsor Elementary, instead of Hanawalt.

An estimated 1,300 elementary students will be asked to switch schools in 2015. However the students can choose to stay at their old school.

Children like Sara Harrington’s are given preference when applying to go to the same school as their older siblings, but there`s no guarantee.

DMPS says their job is to consider what`s best for the entire school population.

“We don`t want any schools in the school district to be too crowded, but at the same time it`s not right to have schools with not have enough students in them,” Des Moines schools Phil Roeder told Channel 13.

Roeder says population data indicates the new boundaries would balance out the schools and get the best use out of them.

“I think they need to look beyond the data and look at the families and see you know what we`ve built and what we`re trying to build here,” Harrington says.

Harrington says her neighborhood isn`t a number, it`s a community. She wants to keep her community together for the same reason she keeps her kids art on the walls – to be a part of something special.

The school district says the proposed boundaries could change depending on the feedback from the community. The school board will vote to approve the final boundaries in May.