February 7, 2016

Board adopts boundaries for new schools

Graphic courtesy of USD 231

Graphic courtesy of USD 231

Danedri Thompson
Boundaries are set for the new elementary school and middle school in Gardner. The elementary school, deemed “No. 7” by school officials, will open in time for the start of the next school year. The middle school, “No. 3,” will open in 2014.
A boundary committee, which included some school officials as well as teachers from elementary and middle schools, met extensively before presenting proposed boundaries at a series of five public meetings earlier this month.
According to Bill Gilhaus, superintendent, the district’s demographer created three different boundary proposals for the committee to consider. After moving proposed boundary lines around, the group decided to present only one proposal to the community.
Board members adopted the proposal during a meeting on Jan. 28. No members of the public spoke during the board meeting, and Gilhaus said community members voiced minimal concerns during public presentations of the proposed boundaries.
The committee attempted to draw boundaries that would prevent students from having to cross major thorough fares and that would keep neighborhoods together.
“But you can’t avoid all obstacles,” Gilhaus said.
The new elementary boundaries split the Willow
Springs neighborhood. In part, that neighborhood was divided so that children who lived closest to Moonlight Elementary School would attend that school. All students who live in the subdivision will attend the new middle school.
The current boundaries allow for kids from three elementary schools to feed directly into each of the middle schools – keeping classes of students together for the duration of their schooling.
That’s no longer the case with an uneven number of elementary schools and a new middle school. Most of the district’s elementary schools will continue to feed directly to a middle school. Madison and Edgerton Elementary Schools will feed students to Pioneer Ridge Middle School. Sunflower and Gardner Elementary Schools will feed students into Wheatridge Middle School; and Nike and the elementary school No. 7 will feed to the new campus.
Moonlight Elementary School students will attend two different middle schools – the new middle school and Wheatridge.
The new boundaries will allow room for growth, according to school officials. When school starts next year, Moonlight should be at 72 percent capacity; Nike should be at 80 percent capacity; Gardner should be at 80 percent capacity; and the new elementary school should be at 71 percent capacity.
Gilhaus told board members that extra cushion at the new elementary school was designed in part to accommodate 200 undeveloped lots in the Plum Creek subdivision.
The middle school capacities will be significantly lower. According to estimates, Wheatridge will be at 68 percent capacity; Pioneer Ridge will be at 59 percent capacity; and the new middle school will be at 75 percent capacity once it opens in 2014.
In other business, board members:
• approved an out-of-state trip for 15 Gardner Edgerton High School students to compete in a national engineering contest in Washington, D.C.

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