In a move school officials have said both will save money and balance the district population in elementary schools, the West York school board unanimously approved the decision to reconfigure the elementary school buildings by grade level, not district address.

Starting in the next school year, second- and third-graders will attend Lincolnway Elementary School, and fourth- and fifth-graders will attend Trimmer Elementary.

All kindergarten and first grade students will attend Wallace and Loucks elementary. Loucks will close after the completed renovation of Wallace, though board president Rodney Drawbaugh said at the meeting the district has not decided what the district will do with the vacated building.

Balancing act: Superintendent Emilie Lonardi said at past school board meetings the change will allow the district to balance class sizes between the two schools, and also will allow teachers in similar grade levels to share resources more effectively.

Lonardi said teachers have already been asked to choose if they would prioritize their building location or grade level during the upcoming reconfiguration. Following the holiday season, Lonardi said building principals will meet with teachers and students to begin preparing for the change. She said the district is hoping to set up a buddy system for students to ease the transition, and will also have time for teachers to regroup with their new building teams during the spring. Information will also be given to parents after the new year, Lonardi said.

Previous concern: At a public meeting in October about the change, many parents expressed concerns that switching to a district-wide busing plan would increase the bus commute to unacceptable lengths.

Board president Rodney Drawbaugh said the district had conducted several test runs of the new routes, and found only a few children could see an increase of eight to 11 minutes in their bus ride.

"The impact is not going to be as great as people feared," Drawbaugh said.

Lonardi said the district may also hold another public meeting to work out final details for the switch sometime in the spring, possibly in May.

-- Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.