• Who makes the final decision on boundaries?
The Board of Education of the Davis School District makes the final decision on boundaries — following many meetings, the collection of public comment and recommendations from the independent boundary consultant. The board hired consultant Dr. Darrell White to work with the boundary study group to draw preliminary boundary lines and consider adjustments as input is received from community councils and the public through the e-mail JrHighBoundaryStudy@dsdmail.net, during open houses scheduled Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 and the public hearing in October.
• Do the boundaries consider growth?
The district’s Planning Department works closely with all city and county planners to keep abreast of new and future developments within the school district. This communication allows the district to stay current about plans for residential housing and apartments and the impact such developments could have on its schools.
• How does the district determine the number of students living in each neighborhood?
The district uses a fairly sophisticated computer program — the Geographical Information System — to determine the number of students. The program uses Davis County property maps and assigns an address to the property description. The file is then merged with the district’s student database which lists students by grade and address. The program allows the user to highlight a house, street or neighborhood and report how many students by grade are in the area. Such detail allows the study committee to receive accurate data and draw boundaries based on the information.
• How does the district determine student enrollments for each school?
There are many considerations involved in the process. The first variable is the number of classrooms. The second variation is special programs that require full-size classrooms, such as special education. The district also considers enrollment trends and projections.
•Will boundary changes for high schools or elementaries be included in this study?
Minor adjustments could be recommended, but it is not anticipated that any change will affect current students. We welcome input and comments. We know how much everyone loves the school they currently attend.
• Are these boundaries finalized?
No. Public input is still being received. The Boundary Study group will meet with community councils on Sept. 12. Additionally, two open houses are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Centennial Junior High and Oct. 4 at Legacy Junior High. A public hearing also will be held Oct. 16. Public input received at those times and through the e-mail JrHighBoundaryStudy@dsdmail.net will be considered as final boundaries are drawn. While social media is a popular venue for communicating opinions, the district cannot monitor all posts regarding boundaries.
• Can students get a variance to attend the school of their choice?
Possibly. If a school is above capacity it is considered a “closed school.” In that case the district may grant boundary variances up to 1.5 percent of the projected enrollment if it does not require additional staffing. Those variances are awarded using the lottery system. If a school is “open” or below capacity, the Director of Planning will calculate the number of boundary variances that may be granted to nonresident students to bring the school’s enrollment up to the open enrollment threshold.
• Will parents get to see the proposed boundaries before they are finalized?
Yes. There are multiple opportunities to see the boundaries. The preliminary boundaries are currently on the district website davis.k12.ut.us/district/boundary-study. The proposal will also be reviewed with community councils on Sept. 12. Any adjustments made prior to the final adoption will be posted on the website and sent to the public through e-mail and social media. Additionally, open houses will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Centennial Junior High and Oct. 4 at Legacy Junior High and a public hearing will be held Oct. 16 where the public can comment on the boundary proposal. Input can also be sent to JrHighBoundaryStudy@dsdmail.net.
• Why are you splitting ecclesiastical boundaries?
Other “affiliate” boundaries cannot be considered in school boundary studies. Growth often changes those lines as well, creating a moving target. The district attempts to keep neighborhoods together, but understands that lines must be drawn somewhere whether that be down the middle of a major roadway or through backyards. The definition of a “neighborhood” is subjective. When looking at drawing lines, the consultant considers already established high school and elementary boundaries. While it is impossible to have 100 percent feeder patterns from every elementary and to every high school because of ongoing growth, the goal is to get those with split feeder patterns closer to 50 percent.
• Did the district consider proximity in setting the preliminary school boundaries?
Proximity is difficult to define when considering new school boundaries. While the change may place some students further from the new school than they were to their current school, that neighborhood is still closer to the new school than others in the boundary study area.
• Will boundary changes decrease the amount of students per classroom?
The student/teacher ratio is the same across the district and would not decrease because of the boundary change. Some classes are larger or smaller, depending on how individual schools decide to allocate staffing. However, the total number of students will be reduced in each school, which helps with crowded hallways, space in the commons and restroom usage during breaks.
• Why did you split my neighborhood?
In a boundary realignment, lines must be drawn. The district boundary study group drives every area as it looks at where those lines should be drawn. Natural geographic features, such as fields, waterways and parks are considered as good dividers. Roadways and boundaries of other schools such as elementary or high schools are also looked at as good places to draw preliminary lines. For some a “neighborhood” could be defined as a large ecclesiastical group or housing development. For others, the “neighborhood” includes those across a major roadway. Still others may say their “neighbor” is their child’s best friend who lives miles away. Lines need to be drawn in a boundary study and all those definitions cannot be met in drawing those lines.
• Who are the members of the boundary study group and what is their role?
The boundary study group consists of the boundary consultant, the district’s planning director, high school, junior high and elementary school directors, transportation director, community relations department and an assistant superintendent. All district members of the boundary study group act in an advisory role to the boundary study consultant. Ultimately, the boundary consultant makes the recommendation to the Board of Education regarding his preferred boundary proposal. The Board of Education will have the final say on boundaries. They are scheduled to conduct an initial vote in early November with a final vote expected on Dec. 4.