Chance to argue D-11 boundary changes
Coronado to host 1 of 3 public meetings
A public meeting on coming-year boundaries for District 11 schools will be Thursday, April 2 at Coronado High, 1590 W. Fillmore St.
It will be one of three such meetings; the others will be March 30 at Mitchell High and March 31 at Wasson. All will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Discussions will start with the proposed maps, which were posted March 25 on the district website (d11.org, then click the According to Glenn Gustafson, D-11 chief financial officer, the sessions will include a staff presentation of proposed boundary changes, after which citizens can come up and use a microphone to make comments.
As the maps indicate, major changes are recommended for Westside elementaries as a result of closing Buena Vista, Pike, Washington and Whittier (although the latter two will be reused for non-attendance-area schools - the former for Montessori and the latter for Bijou Alternative high school).
Another envisioned change concerns West and Holmes' middle school attendance areas. Currently, students from the Holland Park neighborhood north of Holmes (who would have gone to Jackson Elementary) are bussed past that school to West. They would now go to Holmes, with West's area reduced as a result, the middle school map indicates. How such a change will affect West (which has room for more students now), and Holmes (which is nearly full) may be a topic of discussion.
“I want to reiterate that these are proposed boundaries, not set in stone,” Gustafson said in a phone interview. “We [district administrators] tried to use our best judgment along with advice from the Boundary Advisory Committee [composed of staff and citizens].”
He said at least 20 criteria were used in the evaluation, with student safety “first and foremost,” and keeping neighborhoods together another high priority. For example, no proposed Westside elementary attendance areas require crossings of I-25 or other major streets - except Fillmore Street for the current Pike students. “We also looked at logical feeder patterns and tried to get a balance of having schools that are full but not over-full, so there is room for permits,” he said.
Here are the proposed changes for the remaining Westside elementaries (what's happening with their current attendance areas and which current areas they would take in):
Changing school attendance-area boundaries is the most recent step in D-11's major system overhaul - called the Reutilization Plan - which has included Board of Education direction to close nine schools in all at the end of this school year.
Also scheduled are a boundary-change public hearing before the school board April 8 and board action April 22.
District administrators will be at the public meetings March 30, 31 and April 2, Gustafson said. These include himself, Mike Poore, the deputy superintendent who has led the Reutilization effort; Mary Thurman, also a deputy superintendent; and Frank Bernhard, executive director of facilities operation and transportation. Some school board members have also been attending the lead-up meetings this month, at which adminis-trators sought public suggestions on what to consider in boundary changes.
Although any issue-related questions will be welcome at any of the meetings, Gustafson said each is likely to have a “regional flair.” For example, the Coronado meeting, because of its location, “obviously will deal more with the Westside.”
A question that may come up, particularly on the Westside, is transportation, because fewer close-in schools appear to mean larger attendance areas for the remaing schools and more students being bussed. Gustafon agreed that the transportation costs may be higher, but said the amount is low when compared to the expense of running small and/or underutilized schools.
Westside Pioneer article