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October 1, 2014

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Liberty may gain students

Administrators look to ease overcrowding

Capacity

According to zoning maps released by the Clark County School District, almost every school in the Silverado area is below capacity.

The enrollment numbers are based on the unaudited enrollment count day numbers from Sept. 19. The numbers are not official until they have been approved by the state Department of Education.

Elementary Schools

John C. Bass is 7 percent under capacity.

John R. Beatty is 9 percent under capacity.

Roberta C. Cartwright is 10 percent under capacity.

Roger D. Gehring is 10 percent under capacity.

Charlotte Hill is 2 percent over capacity.

Louis Wiener Jr. is 2 percent over capacity.

John R. Hummell is 12 percent under capacity.

Steven G. Schorr is 12 percent under capacity.

Middle Schools

Jack Lund Schofield Middle School is 10 percent under capacity.

Charles Silvestri Junior High School is 4 percent under capacity.

High Schools

Silverado High School is 2 percent under capacity.

Liberty High School is 29 percent under capacity.

Students in the Silverado area may have a little more elbow room this year compared to some of their peers in other parts of the valley.

According to zoning maps based on the Clark County School District's unofficial count day enrollment numbers, almost every school in Silverado is serving a population smaller than what it can handle.

So what does this mean for the future of Silverado schools?

According to District F School Board Trustee Carolyn Edwards and District F Attendance Zone Advisory Committee member (and vice president of the group) Barbara Moody, the only major change that will soon be considered is the rezoning of Coronado High School to balance out the student population between it and neighboring Liberty High School.

Zoning maps show Coronado's halls are overflowing at 17 percent over capacity while Liberty sits at 29 percent under capacity.

"It's a little surprising that since we opened Liberty, it hasn't seen the growth we anticipated," Edwards said.

In hopes of rectifying the disparity, AZAC will host a public meeting to discuss possible zone changes for Coronado and Liberty at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 6 in the Edward A. Greer Education Center Board Room, 2832 E. Flamingo Road.

Outside of that possible change, according to Moody and Edwards, there isn't much else to be expected.

Moody said the middle schools are all pretty comfortable at being under capacity.

It's a good thing, she said, since there probably won't be any more middle schools built until after 2012 and current student populations allow for growth in the meantime.

As for Silverado elementary schools, they are all under capacity with the exception of sister schools Charlotte Hill and Louis Wiener Jr., which are at 2 percent over capacity.

Zoning for Silverado elementary schools will likely remain the same for two reasons.

"When we are trying to go in and backfill some of those seats that are not being used, then it becomes a budget issue ... because then you have to pay for transportation," Moody said.

When a school is overcrowded, it's worth the additional transportation costs to ensure students are attending schools where they will receive a quality education; while when is it's an issue of simply trying to fill seats at a school that is under capacity, it may not be worth the extra transportation dollars, she said.

"Transportation and busing are some of the most expensive things in the budget," she said.

Additionally, according to the zoning maps, the only neighboring elementary schools that are significantly over capacity are Charles and Phyllis Frias and Aldeane Comito Ries elementary schools, both on the west side of Interstate 15.

The likelihood of these schools being rezoned and neighboring Silverado schools being affected is low because a new school is set to open near Frias and Ries in 2010 that will draw from their student populations and alleviate some of the overcrowding.

The issue becomes should Frias and Ries be rezoned twice, once to alleviate overcrowding for the 2009 school year and again when the new school opens.

"It's a balancing act between relieving an overcrowded school or allowing the school to remain overcrowded so the students don't move too many times," Edwards said. "We don't want to move students more often than not."

Outside of the proposed rezoning of Coronado and Liberty, there is one other possible zoning-related situation that may affect the Silverado area.

At the Nov. 18 meeting, the School Board will consider the option of rezoning the entire Clark County School District.

Edwards said she has not made up her mind about the proposal, nor does she know how district-wide rezoning would affect the Silverado area.

She said one of her concerns about undertaking such expansive changes is that it's hard to know where growth will come with housing and the economy so unpredictable right now.

Additionally, Edwards said she recalled that district-wide rezoning done in 1994 took two years to complete and was extremely contentious.

"It does shake the whole system up and it does affect families and children," she said. "You don't make a decision to do that lightly."

Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].

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