2 utilization options would hike Coronado enrollment

       When Coronado High School hosts the next District 11 “optimization of utilization” community meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18, one of the featured concerns will be its own enrollment area.

Coronado High's current enrollment area (light blue) comprises most of District 11 west of I-25, plus two detached areas in the north part of D-11, east of the interstate.
Courtesy of School District 11

Under Consideration #3, Coronado would stay as is west of I-25. East of I-25, it would no longer have detached areas. It would get areas now belonging to Palmer and Wasson (with Doherty taking Coronado's current easternmost detached area).
Courtesy of School District 11

       The fourth of six meetings this month seeking public feedback, the session will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Coronado auditorium, 1590 W. Filllmore St.
       District staffers will be on hand to hear - as well as respond to - comments from the public. On the table are 12 options, called “considerations,” ranging from boundary changes to school closures (such as Midland Elementary and West Middle). The stated goal is “maximizing the quality of educational opportunities District 11 offers to our students and families.”
       Coronado's enrollment area looks different in each of the three high school-related considerations (#1, #2 and #3). In two of them, its numbers could rise through an expansion of its attendance area east of I-25. Exact numbers are not provided, but based on the proposed geography, 100 or more students appears possible. The school has shrunk under 1,400 enrollment in recent years, leaving it 73 percent utilized.
       In none of the three considerations would Coronado retain the two detached attendance areas in the north/northeast parts of the district that have beefed up its enrollment for more than 10 years. Bulleted looks at these three considerations start later in this article.
       From a Westside standpoint, another key consideration option is #6, which would close Midland Elementary and West Middle School and absorb those students into West Elementary and Holmes Middle. Cost savings would result from no longer operating two smaller schools, while instructional advantages would result from enhancing the other two, according to documents prepared since August by a committee of D-11 staff and volunteers. But the documents also concede issues with the plan: the loss of a “perimeter” school in Midland and the costs of upgrading West Elementary (which currently shares its campus with West Middle), building an addition at Holmes and addressing Holmes' parking issues.
       Here is more on the Coronado-related considerations:
  • #1 would rearrange boundaries for the five full-service district high schools. One result would be eliminating all detached attendance areas, including Coronado's. The school would have an attendance area west of I-25 only. No large savings or utilization improvements are foreseen.
  • #2 would close Wasson, which has less than 70 percent utilization, low academics and facilities in “poor condition,” documents state. One result would be Coronado adding a northern enrollment area east of I-25 that would comprise the nearer detached area it has now, a Wasson detached area and part of the current Palmer area north of Fillmore Street and the Templeton Gap Floodway. Closing Wasson would save money, and better utilization would mean improved “instructional opportunities by maintaining four comprehensive high schools with full-course offerings.”
  • #3 would combine Wasson with nearby Galileo Middle School to form a new school with grades 6-12. The Galileo building would need to be “repurposed,” the optimization documents state. As in the previous consideration, Coronado's attendance area would expand east of I-25, absorbing its nearer de-tached area, one of Wasson's and part of Palmer's area. But in this case the Palmer part would be smaller (north of Garden of the Gods Road and the floodway). This consideration received especially beneficial comments from the District11 committee, including the following: “aligns learning over a long period of time… achieves instructional economies of scale to better leverage staff resources across 6-12 [and] fiscally a sound move - to render savings from the Galileo building without closing a program/school.”
           Meeting attendees will be given spread sheets showing the 12 considerations, with brief descriptions of their pros and cons.
           In addition to the chance to come up to a microphone and offer spoken comments to staffers on hand, attendees can fill out forms in which they're asked to give “additional ideas” and to rank the proposed considerations.
           The optimization documentation is available on the district website: d11.org. To get information another way, call 520-2005.
           Under the district timetable, the last of the six meetings will be Dec. 19 (at Wasson High). Afterward, D-11 Superintendent Dr. Nick Gledich has said he will review the public inputs. He is scheduled to offer his recommendations to the Board of Education Feb. 6, with a board vote after that.
           In a recent press conference, Gledich noted that the average age of district facilities is 45 years and many of the grade configurations have been unchanged for decades. He could not predict how many of the 12 considerations might get approved, but said “maybe only two or three, depending on the feedback we get.”

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