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July 30, 2014

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With slower growth, 17 schools to end year-round schedules

Two schools will change from a nine-month to a year-round schedule

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Heather Cory

From left to right, Andre, Kathleen, Aleza and Ariana Aragones walk home from Linda Givens Elementary School. Linda Givens is one of two elementary schools that will be on year-round schedules next year to alleviate crowding. Seventeen schools will convert from a year-round schedule to a nine-month calendar.

Another sign of the economic times: The Clark County School District is preparing to change 17 year-round schools to nine-month schedules next fall.

The schools are being informed this week of the schedule changes.

Growth around the schools has slowed enough that the schools can operate comfortably on a nine-month schedule, zoning director Sharon Dattoli said. The year-round schedule allows schools to accommodate more students by having one class in a grade that moves from one room to another when other classes are on three-week track breaks.

Building permits have been filed indicating that neighborhoods should be adding students, Dattoli said, but the homes are not being built. "The economy is playing a big part," she said.

However, two schools will change from a nine-month to a year-round schedule, and parents from those two schools are not happy.

Linda Givens and Wayne Tanaka elementary schools will be on year-round schedules next year to alleviate crowding, Dattoli said.

Givens is projected to be 388 students over its nine-month capacity of 773 come fall, Dattoli said. Tanaka is projected to be at 830 students in the fall. Its nine-month capacity is 746.

The schools that will convert from a year-round schedule to a nine-month calendar are all elementary schools. They are: Roger Bryan, C.H. Decker, Ollie Detweiler, Dusty Dickens, Marion Earl, Raul Elizondo, Addeliar Guy, Eva Wolfe, Harley Harmon, Howard Heckethorn, Reynaldo Martinez, Betsy Rhodes, Elaine Wynn, Dr. Owen Roundy, Jesse Scott, Cyril Wengert and Richard Rundle.

Parents at Givens and Tanaka, which are switching to year-round, have contacted School Board members to express their discontent.

School Board President Terri Janison, whose district includes Givens, said she received about 20 e-mails, a fairly large number for such an issue.

Janison said she went to the school last year, when the rezoning process began, to meet with parents and review options.

Dattoli said rezoning, however, was not a feasible way to avoid going to a year-round schedule because of the large number of students involved.

Janison said she explained that to parents during the meetings. "They shouldn't be shocked. There's nothing to be done," she said.

School Board member Carolyn Edwards, whose district includes Tanaka, said she has received phone calls from four people who complained they didn't receive enough notice. "I've reviewed all of the data that went into the decision, and I believe it is fully supported," she said.

The School District uses a complicated formula to determine whether a school should be year-round or nine-month. The process is designed to keep politics out of the decision, Edwards said.

Janison said that the bottom line is what is best for the children.

"It truly is a better educational system for their children when you have fewer students in class," she said. Crowded schools cannot efficiently use their multi-purpose rooms, and music, art and physical education classes get too large, she said.

"All of that affects the overall education," Janison said.

Jean Reid Norman can be reached at 990-2658 or [email protected].

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