3 new schools prompt district to redraw boundaries

Photo by kali9/Getty Images, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Washington County School District officials are working on setting new school boundaries for the 2017-18 school year to accommodate the opening of Majestic Fields Elementary.

The new elementary school is currently under construction on Washington Fields Road and is one of three schools planned to accommodate growth in the Washington Fields and Little Valley areas.

Crimson Middle School is expected to open in the fall of 2018, and Crimson High School will open in 2019. While the immediate focus is on elementary school boundaries, middle school and high school boundaries will also be adjusted within the next few years.

Read more: School board issues bonds for 3 new schools; new rules for booster clubs

The process of redrawing the boundaries of eight or nine elementary schools surrounding Majestic Fields Elementary began several months ago, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Rex Wiley told the Washington County School District Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday.

The new boundaries will move students to the new school from the surrounding elementary schools – including Crimson View, Little Valley and Riverside – in an attempt to reduce crowding and allow for future growth.

The process starts with meetings between the school board and the principals of the affected school, district spokesman Steve Dunham said, and is eventually presented to parents.

What we try and do is give parents at least 30 to 60 days to give their input,” Dunham said. “Because even though we may have fine-tuned the choice down to something we like, we have found that parents have come to us and said, ‘You know what, have you thought about this?’ Or ‘If you’ll do it this way, it makes it more efficient.'”

The district is hoping to make the proposed boundary changes available to parents after Thanksgiving or in the first part of December, Dunham said. Parent meetings in the affected schools will follow.

The school board will vote on the new boundaries in January or February, and the changes will go into effect for the 2017-18 school year.

The district works with the cities involved and developers, trying to project growth and the anticipated population of school-aged children.

At a certain point you’re using a crystal ball, trying to project, based upon history, based upon what developers are telling you, how many homes are going to come online,” Dunham said.

While drawing up new boundaries, district officials try to estimate growth and calculate how many children need to be pulled from surrounding elementary schools. The district tries to anticipate school needs for the next several years.

“Because you don’t want to do boundaries all the time,” he said. “That really disrupts family life.”

The district is already working on potential boundary changes for the secondary and high schools in the area in anticipation of the opening of the Crimson middle school and high school. Currently, the plan is expected to only affect Pine View and Desert Hills high schools.

“The whole goal here is not to disrupt the lives of the students,” Dunham said.

Funding for the new schools and related facilities comes from a $185 million bond passed by voters in 2013. The new high school will cost approximately $70 million; Crimson Middle School is expected to cost $30 million. A bid of $8,649,000 to build Majestic Fields Elementary school was awarded at a school board meeting in February, and the facility is partially complete.

Current Washington County School District boundaries can be viewed here.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • Brian October 28, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Lets hope the new boundaries offer some sanity. If you look at current boundaries they’re ridiculous. The only thing I can think of to explain them is each person involved in the planning had teenagers that wanted to keep going to “their” school. Or maybe the planners all held stock in the gas, oil, tire, and bus companies and thought they could get rich by busing kids from Leeds past two other high schools to Desert Hills.

    Some of my kids friends live 30 minutes from our house. It means the phrase “Can I play with so and so” can mean 2 hours of travel if you have to drive both ways. There has to be a better way. The addition of new middle and high schools should help.

    • Bob October 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      it must be a socialist conspiracy

      • .... October 28, 2016 at 9:41 pm

        It seems Bob has his tin foil hat on again. LOL ! The socialist people must of hurt boobs. oops I mean Bob’s feelings. I sure hope I didn’t say anything about Bobs comment that upsets RealLowlife because I know Bob is his ( special ) little friend.

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