Muskego - After parent input meetings, the Muskego-Norway School Board approved elementary school boundaries for fall of 2018 when the district consolidates its five elementary schools into three.

The board chose the first of two options that also carried the recommendation by the district administration. In one way, the new boundaries will be better than even the current plan, said School Board President Rick Petfalski.

"It doesn't have the kids split from elementary to middle school like the current arrangement does," he said. "There are natural progressions."

Also, the boundaries take into account how many new students may come into each school as the city develops, he said.

"It allows for the appropriate population in all schools and the schools have room to grow," he said.

The enrollment maximum for the new Country Meadows Elementary School is 840 students. The enlarged Mill Valley Elementary School maximum will be 600 students and Lakeview Elementary will remain at 360. The maximum for the new middle school will be 810, the same as Lake Denoon Middle School. None of the schools will be at capacity when the switchover comes in 2018, said Superintendent Kelly Thompson.

Feedback heard

The feedback school officials received at the information meetings was valuable, Petfalski said.

It was mostly from those living on the borders, asking if the boundary could be shifted to this street or that, he said. The option the school board approved is close to option 1 that was presented to parent meetings.

"There were some tweaks made to the plan, a road here or a road there," Petfalski said.

Board member Brett Hyde said he likes the boundary plan because it was created with attention to how long children will have to ride school buses.

"It places students pretty close to the schools they will attend," he said, although acknowledging that there will be a few exceptions where children will have longer bus rides. The exact length of bus rides is still being worked out by administrators and the bus company. Even when a busing plan is in place, the district can always review the routes to see if modifications are needed, Hyde said.

Sticking point

In setting the boundaries, there was a sticking point that mainly affected children living in the downtown area, he said. Some children live closer to Country Meadows Elementary School than to Mill Valley where they will go, he said.

The plan was drafted that way to achieve a balance in the schools, Hyde said.

There is an option for these and any parents who don't like where their children will go to elementary school. They can apply for the school they want under the state Open Enrollment Program. If there is room in the school, they will be accepted. Priority is given to Open Enrollment requests from parents inside the district, he said. However, parents have to furnish transportation, under the Open Enrollment Program.

The schools will close Tess Corners and Muskego elementary schools. To accommodate their students, a new middle school will be built on North Cape Road so Bay Lane Middle School students, who share a building with Country Meadows Elementary, can move to the new school. Then remodeling will be done to enable Country Meadows to occupy the whole building. In addition, Mill Valley Elementary School will be enlarged and remodeled to also accept students from the closed schools.

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