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April 23, 2014

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education:

Rezoning plans for southwest schools on the table

Image

Richard Brian

Sharon Dattoli, right, director of demographics and zoning for the Clark County School District, listens as Sig Rogich sixth-grader Lindsey Drewes, 12, talks about why she doesn’t want change schools during Tuesday’s public input meeting at Durango High School.

School boundary meeting

Sharon Dattoli, right, director of demographics and zoning for the Clark County School District, listens as Richard Taylor, whose child attends Sig Rogich Middle School, speaks during a public input meeting Tuesday about school attendance boundaries at Durango High School. Launch slideshow »

Maps - Elementary Schools

Note: The colored sections indicate new boundaries, and the thick lines indicate current boundaries.

After more than two hours of discussing the future zoning status of nearly 30 schools in the southwest region, the parents who were at Durango High School for Tuesday night's input session on attendance boundaries agreed on at least one thing: They don't want changes.

Even when brand-new schools were involved -- requiring the commission to draw initial zoning lines -- parents still implored the School District zoning panel to not let their school change.

Tuesday's meeting was one of five hosted by the Clark County School District's Attendance Zone Advisory Commission to gain parent feedback before it recommends new boundaries to the School Board. The commission will decide Thursday which proposals it is sending to the School Board during a 9:30 a.m. meeting at the Edward A. Greer Education Center's board room, 2832 E. Flamingo Road.

Henderson schools were discussed Monday at a forum at Foothill High School.

Elementary schools in Summerlin were one of the most heated topics of discussion. Schools that might see changes include Batterman, Bonner, Roger Bryan, Christensen, Decker, Derfelt, Diskin, Gray, Hayes, Jacobson, Kim, Ober, Piggott, Rogers and Staton elementary schools.

Elementary schools further south were also discussed, including Alamo, Forbuss and Steele, to make room for the soon-to-open Mark L. Fine Elementary School.

Middle schools up for discussion were Canarelli and Faiss, as well as Johnson and Rogich.

Bonanza and Palo Verde were the two high schools with zoning switches on the table Tuesday night.

Parents from Bonner Elementary, recently awarded empowerment school status, came in force to express their distaste for one of the three suggestions, which would move nearly 100 students to Staton or Piggott Elementary. The other two suggestions do not affect Bonner or Staton.

Bonner is 14 percent over capacity and Staton is 4 percent over.

In addition to the Bonner students losing the benefits of attending an empowerment school, which allows a principal to have a larger operating fund and greater control over how it's spent, parents were concerned about the move to Piggott. If approved, students living south of the fairway between Fort Apache Road and Hualapai Way would need to cross Charleston Boulevard to get to school -- a danger that most parents in attendance weren't happy about.

"My major concern is the safety issue," parent Chris McInnis said, noting the School District would need to supply buses and make the affected area on Charleston a school zone to ensure the safety of students.

"Children who miss the bus will cross Charleston," he said.

Parents and teachers at some of the other elementary schools being considered for possible changes were also in attendance.

Susan Shevlin, a teacher at Diskin, came on behalf of teachers and the community at her school. It currently operates on a year-round schedule, and many parents don't speak English as their first language.

Having a year-round schedule ensures the children are well-fed and watched, and parents have the opportunity to take part in an English as a Second Language course after school, which many choose to do, she said.

"Many parents have lost their homes, but they've moved to nearby apartments to stay with us," Shevlin said.

Two proposals affect Diskin, moving more than 150 students from the school, which would put it on a nine-month schedule, Shevlin said. That would easily affect the livelihood of that community, she said.

About 50 parents were present to give input on the proposals that could move thousands of students, but many will have a second opportunity tomorrow. Because the proposals cross region lines, parents of students at the Summerlin and nearby schools may also attend tomorrow's forum at 6 p.m. at Cimarron-Memorial High School, 2301 N. Tenaya Way.

Elementary schools directly north of Summerlin will also be discussed tomorrow. Those schools are: Allen, Bilbray, Conners, Darnell, Deskin, Eisenberg, Kahre and Tobler, to establish an attendance zone for the soon-to-open Henry and Evelyn Bozarth Elementary School, as well as to discuss ways to even out attendance at the other schools, which range from 29 percent over capacity to 23 percent under.

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

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