In the ideal world everyone could have what they wanted. Everyone would be happy. We do not live in the ideal world, especially this year as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dreams were replaced with the unimaginable. Who would have imagined the principal delivering a diploma to the front door? Being the only graduate in the gym walking across the stage to receive a diploma? A paper protected in a padded leatherette cover, representing four years of work, arriving in the mail?

Yet these were the options the Milton High School Class of 2020 was given. More than anything graduates and their families appreciated being able to celebrate a momentous occasion in their own unique way from receiving their diplomas to watching Sunday’s graduation ceremony video.

They celebrated and they appreciated having a choice.

The same week that graduation photos were being taken for the ceremony video, elementary school parents learned they would no longer be able to choose which of the four schools their child would attend.

On May 26 the board approved the attendance area boundaries for the 2020-2021 school year. Starting this fall, students will attend the school in their attendance area, with only limited exceptions for specific academic programs that are not offered at all schools or to balance class sizes.

Superintendent Rich Dahman estimated 10 to 15% of current students will be required to change schools next year and principals will be contacting families affected before the end of June.

In a year of constant change, what’s one more.

Yet in an age where people could choose to send their children to another school district, why would they not have choice within the school district?

What are the costs of offering choice?

In an FAQ, the school district says it could eliminate two to four bus routes and reduce bus ride times for students by 10 to 15 minutes.

School board President Joe Martin said he hoped the Tuesday listening session will provide the community some background, allow questions and comments.

The Milton Courier has asked for the projected enrollment at each school and maps showing how the boundaries are changing.

At Monday’s school board meeting, one parent looked around the room said she thought that half of the people there were part of the Consolidated Elementary School family.

How will the changes impact the report cards for each school that the district receives from the Department of Public Instruction?

The 2018-19 report cards had the following scores: Consolidated 99.2 (the highest in the state), Harmony 88.7, East 78.8, West 76.8. The report cards look at test scores, student growth, the ability to close gaps among disparate groups of students, absenteeism, being on track for graduation and post high school readiness.

Will the changes even the scores among the schools?

With these questions, we head to the listening session.

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