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New math redraws school boundries

Parents of Lone Pine Elementary School students can expect letters from the Medford School District regarding changes to the school's enrollment boundaries, officials say.

"The reason for the change is because Lone Pine Elementary is over capacity. All classes are full to overfull," said Julie Evans, director of elementary education for the district.

The district approved moving forward with the boundary changes at Monday's school board meeting, Evans said.

The district is prepping for state mandates requiring full-time kindergarten classes in 2014-15, and anticipated enrollment growth in the Lone Pine area, Evans said.

About 40 students who attend Lone Pine will be impacted by the new boundaries, which are defined as south of East McAndrews Road, west of Springbrook Road, north of Spring Street and east of Wabash Avenue. Students within those boundaries will be moved to Wilson Elementary School, said Evans.

"Approximately 40 students living within the area we have identified for possible boundary changes to provide relief to the Lone Pine campus," Evans said. "Families that are being affected will be notified within two weeks by the school district."

Wilson is operating under capacity, and has the space to accommodate more students, Evans said.

However, Evans stressed that parents with children who are currently enrolled in Lone Pine will have options for keeping them in the school.

"These existing families will have options," Evans said. "If they feel strongly that they need to stay at Lone Pine, we will be honoring transfer requests."

However, Evans said, newly enrolling students will be required to follow the new boundaries.

Lone Pine enrollment is at 625 students. Full capacity is deemed 600 students, she said. Wilson has the capacity to house 625 students. But it has an enrollment of 468, she said.

Nearby Kennedy Elementary School also has no empty classrooms, and Roosevelt Elementary has only one available, Evans said.

The state's mandate that Oregon elementary schools provide full-day kindergarten by 2014-15 is exacerbating existing space constraints at Lone Pine, she said.

"Each kindergarten teacher will now have to have their own classroom, where before they could share them," Evans said, adding there are no vacant classrooms at Lone Pine.

The boundary impacts residents in the Cherry Creek apartment complex, now under construction on Spring Street. The low-income housing development is expected to be completed at the end of the school year. It is anticipated the complex will add 50 new students to K-12 enrollment, she said.

The northwest corner of Lone Pine attendance boundaries are being changed to Abraham Lincoln Elementary. The open property that was formerly the back nine of the now-defunct Cedar Links Golf Course has been allocated to the Abraham Lincoln enrollment area, Evans said.

"When those houses are built, those children will attend Abraham Lincoln Elementary," she said.

Evans said a parent meeting will be held later this month at Lone Pine Elementary to discuss the decision and address questions. Both Lone Pine and Wilson principals will attend the meeting, she said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.