As the debate continues to grow regarding possible changes to our Intermediate schools, swing streets continue to be part of the discussion. As a resident of a swing street, I have had, over the last couple of years, opportunities to experience, first-hand, the issues associated with this concept. I would like to attempt to explain this concept to all of those who are either unaware or mis-informed regarding swing streets.
A "swing street" is a street, designated by the the business office, within the Board of Education, used to balance the student population in any given year. Please note, if you try to find anything in writing on the Town of Granby website or the school system website, you will come up empty. Below is the latest list of streets with this designation as provided to me in an email from Harry Traver on April 4th of this year:
"Usually, we balance the elementary schools and class sizes using Routes 10 and 189 as the swing streets. In addition to individual residents on these streets, some apartments or condominiums might also be used for redistricting (Chatsworth, Meadowgate, Windmill Springs) When this doesn’t yield enough students to balance, we look to both Poets’ Corner and a handful of other streets such as Sakrison, Sunny Heights, Laurel, Evergreen, and Ice Pond that are easily accessed by passing buses. " - as written by Harry Traver
Once your child is assigned a 3rd grade school, their siblings will also attend this school. However, if the schools "swing" the following year your neighbor with a 2nd grader will be assigned to a different school. As this situation continues to develop, you end up with children, sometimes close in age, going to different schools. In some cases this eliminates the opportunity to car pool, help a neighbor, who might be in a pinch, by picking up their child and in time, this concept begins to divide a neighborhood.
Also, please bear in mind that swing streets do not change. These streets have been leaned on, for years, by the BOE, to balance the schools. No one tells you that you are a swing street when you buy your house. However, your real estate listing will tell you what Intermediate school is currently serving that area at the time you purchase. You will only find out about swing streets the first time you are impacted by the need to balance the schools.
Should the Intermediate schools change to 3/4 and 5/6, this issue disappears. I am personally in favor of the school system staying as is, however, the system of swing streets will continue without any changes to the schools.
Perhaps there was a time for this concept, however, as the town has grown, there is a need to find a more suitable alternative to swing streets. If we are to continue with this antiquated process, perhaps a different set of streets should be chosen every few years rather than the continued use of one group for the benefit of everyone.
In closing, I ask you to take a moment and consider what your street or neighborhood might be like if you were asked to bear the burden of flipping schools on demand. Once you have thought about this, you will better understand what it is like to live this reality.