Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 | 12:05 a.m.
Note: Current boundaries are outlined in black. Proposed boundaries are colored. Scenarios 1-3 do not reflect a change that places the entire community of Seven Hills at Coronado.
Parents of high school students living in Seven Hills breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after a zoning committee decided not to split the community and send half of the students to Liberty High School.
Changes to the attendance zones of up to five Henderson schools are being considered in an effort to reduce crowding at Coronado and Foothill high schools and to use up empty seats at Liberty. At a previous meeting of the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission, two of the three possible scenarios would have split the community down Seven Hills Drive, with half staying at Coronado High School and half moving to Liberty.
After Clark County School District demographics and zoning director Sharon Dattoli recommended the split be eliminated from plans, applause broke out, and Paul Parrish, president of the Seven Hills Parents Association turned to the parents behind him and said, "Seven Hills army, stand down."
However, parents from Madeira Canyon and a portion of Green Valley, who referred to themselves as the "filler community," surrounded by Robindale Road, Green Valley Parkway, Pecos Road and Interstate 215, are still fighting to remain at Coronado.
Official count day numbers showed Coronado has 3,117 students, about 500 over capacity, and Foothill has 2,580 students, about 300 over. Liberty, with 1,853 students, is about 750 under capacity.
Silverado and Green Valley high schools are just under their capacity, but may be used to even out the other three schools.
A new, fourth scenario was presented to address feeder school alignment. It calls for Coronado to take Foothill students as far east as Gibson Road. Green Valley would absorb Coronado students north of the Las Vegas Beltway between Stephanie Street and Green Valley Parkway. Students west of Anthem Parkway and south of Atchley Road would move to Liberty.
Scenario 2 received the most attention of the three-hour meeting, however. It is the only one that would move students in the "filler community" out of Coronado and keep the Madeira Canyon students there.
Comments such as "Scenario 2 is the only logical choice" and "Anything but Scenario 2" were often thrown back and forth by parents hoping their children would not be rezoned.
Some commission members said they also did not like the proposal, which moves the most students, requires change at Silverado and, according to Ray Negrete, an analyst for the Clark County School District, is the least cost effective. But the members noted they were running out of ideas.
"We’re especially interested in hearing new ideas if you have them," Becky Nielson, commission chairwoman, said before the public comment portion of the meeting.
No suggestions were made for other alternatives.
Parents from the Green Valley "filler" community said they had already been moved many times -- four at the high school level in the past 15 years, and the middle school students three years ago, parent Doug Gerard said. They just wanted the burden to go to someone else this time.
"Scenario 1 affects the least number of people, and, I'm sorry, but at Madeira Canyon they're already being bussed," Gerard said. "Scenario 2 is the most disruptive to students."
Madeira Canyon parents said they didn’t approve of the route buses would have to take to get to Liberty. Volunteer Boulevard would be the shortest route, but parents said they thought the road was dangerous.
"I feel like I would be doing an injustice to my children if I didn't talk about safety," Lisa Lopez said, echoing other parents from her Madeira Canyon community.
The parents also said the bus ride would be longer, but Negrete assured them the ride would tack on only an additional 1.25 miles, or six more minutes.
"We've always had two options, three options, but you get to the point where you only have one option," commission member Barbara Moody said. She did not like Scenario 2, she said.
With the exception of two Silverado parents, public comment came solely from members of the "filler community" and Madeira Canyon. Attendance Zone Advisory Commission members said they would like to hear more from parents at Foothill and Silverado high schools. Foothill is under consideration in all four scenarios, and Silverado is in the second scenario.
"I'm not sure if they're unaware of the meetings or if they're just OK with it and don't feel they need to be here," Nielson said.
The commission will meet again Dec. 4 to vote on at least two scenarios to move forward as proposals. The proposals will be brought to the community in January and, shortly after students return from winter break, public feedback meetings will begin at the schools in the evenings.
One proposal will move forward as the recommendation to the School Board in March. Once adopted by the School Board, it will take effect beginning with the 2009-2010 school year.
Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.