Danedri Thompson
School officials will create a committee to draw new boundary lines for USD 231 in anticipation of a new elementary school and middle school coming online soon.
The new lines not affect students at Edgerton or Madison Elementary Schools or the high school.
Bill Gilhaus, district superintendent, said the new boundaries should enhance the learning environment of all students.
“It’s an exciting time, but it’s a time of change,” Gilhaus told school board members during a Nov. 12 meeting.
The district will create a committee, which will include teachers, building administrators, parents and members of the school’s planning committee. Members will meet Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 with a goal of finalizing future attendance boundaries. In January, the committee will host a series of meetings to gather local input, and new boundary proposals will be presented to the school board at a Jan. 28 meeting.
Gilhaus said there are several objectives the committee will consider.
For example, one goal will be to maintain the neighborhood school concept by keeping neighborhoods together. They will also try to create boundaries the district can maintain for at least 5 years.
“We want to avoid causing multiple school moves,” Gilhaus explained. “We don’t want to move (students) any more than we have to.”
When the district last redrew boundary lines, some fourth grade and eighth grade students were grandfathered in order to remain in their existing schools.
“That may not be possible, but it’s something for the boundary committee to give consideration to,” he said.
Meanwhile, the committee will attempt to establish a feeder school system where certain elementary schools feed into specific middle schools in the district.
Gilhaus showed board members maps of the existing boundaries. He noted that the geographical size of the boundaries are not indicative of the number of students. For example, Sunflower Elementary School’s boundaries appear geographically tiny while Edgerton Elementary’s boundary lines cover a vast amount of map space.
“It’s about housing density,” Gilhaus said.
The boundary committee will attempt to alleviate near capacity and over capacity conditions at Gardner Elementary, Moonlight Elementary, Nike Elementary and at both middle schools – Pioneer Ridge and Wheatridge.
The district used a similar process when it last redrew boundary lines. The change was the largest in the history of the school district. Gilhaus said more than 2,000 families were affected by the changes, but only one came forward with concerns once the redistricting proposal was complete.
“It seemed to work well in the past,” board president Ron Ragan said.