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October 30, 2014

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schools:

Parents in northwest valley want boundary changes delayed

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Heather Cory

Parents gather at Cimarron-Memorial High School to discuss zoning for several Clark County schools on Tuesday.

Northwest region boundary meeting

With a student at Palo Verde High School, Sue Lopez shows her support for proposed zoning boundary No. 2 during the school attendance boundaries input meeting at Cimarron-Memorial High School on Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

During a meeting Wednesday night to discuss zoning for schools in the Northwest Region, one sentiment was expressed by residents again and again: Don’t change anything right now.

Parents of children attending elementary and secondary schools in Summerlin and the surrounding areas implored the members of the Clark County School District’s Attendance Zone Advisory Commission to wait and see what kind of shape neighborhoods will be left in population-wise due to the economy during the next couple of years before deciding to relocate hundreds of students to fix over- and under-crowding.

The one exception was during the public comment concerning how to change the zoning of schools in the far northwest area to populate the new Henry & Evelyn Bozarth Elementary School, which will open for the 2009-2010 school year.

The main concern regarding the zoning change proposals revolved around attendance boundary changes that would result in students having to cross busy roadways to reach their newly assigned schools.

The public input meeting was the last chance for concerned residents to speak up before the advisory commission’s Thursday meeting, during which it will finalize all zoning change proposals for the northwest and submit suggestions to the School Board.

The School Board will make the final decision on zoning changes for elementary schools Feb. 24 and for secondary schools March 3.

With the exception of the zoning changes proposed to populate Bozarth, all of the proposed zoning changes concern only existing schools and were proposed in response to a district-wide count of students conducted in September 2008 that found many schools to be over capacity while neighboring schools were under.

Parent Fred Grant, who spoke against proposed changes to overcrowded Palo Verde High School’s attendance boundary that would send students to under-capacity Bonanza High School, said the faltering economy is not yet finished wreaking havoc.

People are still losing their homes and having to move, he said. Student population numbers will continue to change.

Palo Verde is 14 percent over capacity while Bonanza is under by 9 percent. The proposed zone changes would move between 321 and 455 students from Palo Verde to Bonanza.

During public input concerning moving students from Sig Rogich Middle School, which is 10 percent over capacity, to Johnson Middle School, which is 23 percent under capacity, a wait-and-see sentiment again prevailed among those who commented before the commission.

However, while many wanted no changes made to the zoning boundary of Rogich, a group of people affiliated with Johnson said the school is in dire need of a higher population so more teachers and programs don’t get cut due to lack of students.

“We need to keep our teachers. We need more kids there,” said parent Angie Thompson.

For all of the proposed zone changes, concerns about cost efficiency, new travel routes that may include crossing busy streets and splitting up friends and communities were expressed.

The advisory commission’s meeting to finalize proposals is open to the public and will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the board room of the Edward A. Greer Education Center, 2832 E. Flamingo Road.

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

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