Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008 | 7:20 p.m.
Parents and residents eager to get a look at the possibilities of rezoning several Henderson-area high schools voiced their opinions Thursday at a meeting of the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission.
About 100 people filled the board room of the Edward A. Greer Education Center, 2832 E. Flamingo Road, to look at possible scenarios in which Coronado, Foothill, Green Valley, Liberty and Silverado high schools could be rezoned. The three scenarios were offered to provide relief to crowding at Foothill and Coronado, which are 300 and 500 students over capacity, respectively.
“I don’t think our goal is to bring Coronado way down and fill up Liberty,” said JoAnne Foutz, a member of the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission who represents the Henderson area. “We just need to provide some relief.”
Basic High School was initially in one of the scenarios for change but immediately dropped from consideration. The suggestion would have looked at moving 74 students from Basic, which is 8 percent over capacity, to Foothill, currently 14 percent over, to allow students who went to elementary and middle school together to go to the same high school. Because of the small number of students, Foutz asked that it be removed.
Sharon Dattoli, director for the demographics and zoning department, noted that Liberty, which has 750 empty seats, needs to gain at least 300 students. Liberty is 29 percent under capacity.
Del Sol High School is being discussed as part of a separate focus area, to draw students from Chaparral High School. However, the Clark County School District is looking into starting a new program at the school by 2010 that could draw several hundred students into the school. The commission will discuss possible changes Nov. 20, after getting more information on the potential new program.
Many parents in the crowd said they have students at Coronado and were concerned about their child leaving the school or having the community they lived in split between two schools, as some scenarios suggested.
Deanna Messina, a Seven Hills resident, said she was for the second scenario because it didn’t split the community. The first and third scenarios send students west of Seven Hills Drive to Liberty High School and keep the remaining students at Coronado.
“It doesn’t make sense to split that wonderful neighborhood of Seven Hills,” she said.
Another hot spot for discussion was the neighborhood bordered by Pecos Road, Robindale Road, Green Valley Parkway and the Las Vegas Beltway.
“Everyone opposed to scenario two, please stand up,” Melanie Wilcox asked the crowd and most in the crowd stood.
Wilcox and many other parents referred to the area as the “filler” neighborhood, because they have been required several times in the past 10 years to rezone their children to help fill seats at another school.
Scenario two moves them from Coronado to Silverado, which would then lose an equal number of students to Liberty.
“It’s something we took in and handled with the growth, but now we’re not growing,” Nancy Brown said. The neighborhood has been through double sessions, year-round conversions and zoning for four high schools.
The neighborhood has not seen growth in seven years, she said.
Becky Nielson, commission chairwoman, said she did not approve of scenario two.
“I would like to leave Silverado out of this,” she said, noting that Silverado, after several years of fluctuation, is now at a point that its enrollment is about right for its capacity.
One suggestion parents made was phasing students into the new schools by rezoning them only as they enter their freshman year.
Foutz said she would like to look into phasing as an option.
Dattoli said it has been studied by a committee of principals, parents and School District staff, which set strict criteria to be met before that option is used. She said she would address that option at a future meeting, she said.
The other two scenarios require the southern tip of Anthem, including Madeira Canyon and Anthem Highlands, to move to Liberty.
Anthem residents asked the commission to look into zone variances and “creative addressing,” where residents use a friend or family member’s address so they can be zoned for their school of choice.
“Maybe the numbers wouldn’t be so bad if, in fact, it was investigated a little more,” Robin Kaszupski said.
Coronado does have 30 extra students because of zone variances, Nielson said, not enough to worry about.
School Board member Carolyn Edwards said the School District is addressing that issue, but she encouraged parents not to worry.
“Wherever you end up, you will be at a very good school,” she said.
Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.