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July 31, 2014

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Panel suggests hundreds of students shuffle schools next year

Board recommends two attendance proposals for School Board’s OK

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News

Perry Neiman and Sam Myers, right, who both have children at Coronado High School, review the proposed zoning maps during Monday’s Attendance Zone Advisory Commission meeting at Foothill High School.

School zoning

Coronado sophomores Emily Brown, left, and Caitlin Trost, right, who live in the Launch slideshow »

Most of the Coronado High School students who live in Anthem could move to Liberty next year, and Foothill High School would get no immediate relief from its crowded halls and classrooms.

After a three-hour meeting, a Clark County School District advisory panel agreed Tuesday on its final recommendation for rezoning Henderson schools. The elementary school proposals will go to the School Board for approval Feb. 24, and the high school ones on March 3. The School Board can accept or change the recommendations.

One of the more controversial scenarios was passed: moving students who live in Anthem from Coronado, which is 17 percent over capacity, to Liberty, which is 29 percent under.

Students living south of Sun City Anthem Drive, west of Anthem Parkway, south of Atchley Drive and south of Weston Hills Road would move from Coronado to Liberty. If students move into the Henderson Executive Airport area in the future, they would also be zoned for Liberty.

One of the options was to move Silverado High students to Liberty and Coronado students to Silverado, but parents of those students objected loudly, noting that their children had been moved numerous times in the past 15 years.

Anthem parents argued that their children would be forced to be bused along a street they considered unsafe: Volunteer Boulevard.

In the final recommendation, students who live in Anthem Country Club would not move, but other Anthem students would attend Liberty next year.

In addition, a proposal to move Foothill students to Coronado High School was dropped. Foothill is 14 percent over its capacity, and School District attendance zoning officials said changes there may be considered again next year.

At the elementary level, three schools would be affected: Sue Morrow, C.T. Sewell and Robert Taylor elementary schools.

Morrow, a year-round school, and Sewell, a nine-month school, are 5 percent and 11 percent over capacity, respectively. Taylor was the recent recipient of a new school building, which is bigger than the last, leaving it at 37 percent under capacity.

Fifty-five students at Victory Village Apartments will transfer from Sewell and 61 students living west of Palo Verde Drive will transfer from Morrow to Taylor.

Because Taylor is a Title I school and on the No Child Left Behind “need improvement” list, students may choose to attend Morrow or John Dooley Elementary School instead.

Many parents have been debating the issue at meetings since November. Their last chance to do so was Monday during a public input forum at Foothill High School.

Hundreds of Henderson parents and a few high schools students showed up for the forum in a last effort to influence the decision-making process.

Overwhelmingly, representatives from the area north of Interstate 215 between Green Valley Parkway and Pecos Road said they didn’t want to move from Coronado to Silverado. They’d done it too many times before, they said, and said it was someone else’s turn.

In making the decision today, Becky Nielson, chairwoman of the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission, said its members tried to listen to parents and make compromises where they could.

“People really are wanting the stability to stay where they’re at, but we have to look at Liberty,” she said.

In earlier meetings, Sharon Dattoli, director of demographics and zoning, expressed the importance of moving at least 300 students to Liberty, which has 750 empty seats this year. With the approved recommendation, more than 200 will transfer.

“It’s a good start,” Nielson said.

The commission now will look into schools in the southwest and northwest zones, respectively, and make the final recommendation on Thursday. Next week, it will consider the east and northeast zones, making a final recommendation Jan. 22.

For more information on those meetings, visit azac.ccsd.net or call 799-6435.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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