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Opponents Blast Redistricting Plan

Janak Desai doesn't have to worry about middle school redistricting right now. His daughter, Binaali, is a third-grader at McKinley Elementary School, three years away from Tomlinson Middle School, where she'll go under the new plan. But Janak doesn't think the Board of Education needed to make a decision right now, either. He was among the parents and students who took to Sherman Green on Friday afternoon to protest.

"I just feel that the Board of Ed did not listen to all the concerns that the people of Fairfield had, that all the parents of Fairfield had," Janak said.

On Sept. 14, the Board of Education voted 5-4 in favor of "Option E," the recommended plan of the nine put before the Facilities Subcommittee. The decision will change the feeder patterns for eight of the town's 11 public elementary schools.

Many of the parents at Friday's rally said the Board of Education rushed to its decision, even though superintendent David Title asked for a decision by the end of September to allow time for planning.

In particular, many opponents said the board should have not focused on middle schools but looked at the districts for all levels, from elementary to high school. They want a more geographically focused plan, limiting the time children spend on the bus.

Children held signs Friday with slogans such as "Option E Gets An F From Me" and "Stop Crosstown Busing" and chanted "Plan E is Not For Me." A few, like Burr fifth-grader Katie Cramer, got up to the microphone to go into specifics.

Katie's brother and sister attend Roger Ludlowe, but under Option E both would go across town to Fairfield Woods. "I think it's really unfair that he's already adjusted to a new school, and now he'll have to start all over again at a new school," Katie said.

Although the vote was final, the issue could be revisited at Tuesday's meeting. This would require one of the five approving voters to move to reopen the discussion. Earlier this week, Vice Chair Pamela Iacono said she did not hear of anyone with plans to do so.

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