The Department of Defense Dependents Schools Okinawa District has announced minor school zoning changes for the 2005-06 school year that will affect students at E.C. Killin and Zukeran elementary schools.

After gathering data and holding numerous meetings, the district’s zoning committee recommended that students who live off base and now attend Zukeran be moved to Killin next year. This change will affect fewer than 50 students, according to Ron Sharik, chief of staff for DODDS Okinawa. The adjustment was needed due to changes in demographics and the housing patterns of servicemembers on Okinawa, he said.

“With the new housing coming on line at Sada and the closing of East Futenma housing, we had to make some changes to accommodate those families,” Sharik said.

With old housing areas being demolished or renovated and new housing and towers going up, Sharik said zoning will be an issue the district is going to have to contend with for years.

More than half a dozen proposals were discussed by the committee for the latest change, but the Zukeran/Killin decision seemed to fit best, he said, as it affects the smallest number of students.

“We know it is difficult to move a child to a different school, but we have to make some changes,” said Dave McCool, district transportation supervisor. “Over the last couple of years, servicemembers have shifted where they live and this has had a big impact on our schools. Two years ago we had 10 students living along the Sunabe seawall; this year we have more than 50.”

The zoning committee is made up of representatives from all the major commands, housing, schools, transportation and parents.

“Recommendations are a collaborative effort by everyone on the committee. We look at problems from every angle and try to come up with solutions which effect the smallest number of families,” Sharik said.

The committee meets regularly to discuss a variety of solutions to keep schools from becoming overcrowded.

If parents have questions or need additional information, they can contact the district office at DSN 634-1204.

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