Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2017

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Crowding at Henderson high schools to be addressed


Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News

Students overfill the stairways and courtyard between passing periods at Coronado High School Oct. 21.

Click to enlarge photo

Hundreds of Coronado High School students pack the lunchroom during their 35-minute lunch period Oct. 21.

Rezoning meeting

WHERE: Edward A. Greer Education Center's board room, 2832 E. Flamingo Road

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Nov. 6


Students at Coronado High School, which has almost 500 more students than it is designed to hold, are scheduled to get a little more elbow room next year.

The Clark County School District's Attendance Zone Advisory Commission will look at plans next Thursday to reduce crowding at Coronado and Foothill High School, which is about 300 students over its capacity. Those plans are likely to include moving students to other Henderson-area schools — Liberty, Silverado and Green Valley High Schools.

Coronado is 17 percent over capacity with 3,117 students, and Foothill High School is 14 percent over with 2,580 students.

Liberty High School, on the other hand, is 29 percent under capacity with 1,853 students. Green Valley High School is 5 percent under capacity with 2,817 students, and Silverado is 2 percent under with 2,584 students.

At Coronado, crowding has been a problem for several years, but plans to even out the student populations at Coronado and Liberty started last year, Rick Baldwin, coordinator for the School District's demographics and zoning department, said.

However, those plans were postponed as the foreclosure crisis worsened, because School District officials thought Coronado would not gain and would possibly lose students this year, Principal Lee Koelliker said. Instead, the school grew by 100 students.

Foothill's crowding problem began last year, Principal Jeanne Donadio said. Normally the freshman class is about 500 students, but last year's class was about 700 students, she said, which resulted in four portables being installed on campus. The same happened this year, with another 700 freshman and an additional four portables brought in.

Coronado has adjusted to the higher number of students, Koelliker said, though it can be tough the first week of school.

"Every year our class sizes have been big, and I've always been able to adjust the staffing to alleviate," Koelliker said. "We haven't seen any negative effects. … We've absorbed the kids really well."

Crowding is new to Foothill, though, and Donadio prefers to address it now. The portables have allowed class sizes to stay within reason, she said, but it has caused other concerns for the students.

"It affects them at lunch time. The lines are a lot longer," she said. "It affects them in the hallways. It's harder to get around between classes."

The zoning commission will look at several ways to even out the numbers, Baldwin said.

"We're still in the very early stages," he said. "We'll meet with the principals, AZAC members and regions to talk about possibilities. … It's all about change and looking at ideas."

During the months-long process of rezoning, the scenarios may change several times before they are accepted as proposals, and again before they are recommended to the School Board.

All zoning meetings are open to the public. The meeting at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 6 will be an organizational meeting, Baldwin said.

Koelliker said zoning is his secondary concern, behind budget cuts. However, losing students does mean he would lose additional funding, in the form of state-issued per pupil funding, he said.

"With all the budget cuts we have to make, if we lose kids we'll lose even more money," he said. "We wouldn't be able to provide the services and programs we currently do."

Schools are allotted a number of teachers based on how many students are at the school, so losing students would also result in teachers being relocated to other schools.

At this point, Donadio said, she feels the negative impacts of zone changes are minimal and worth looking into.

"When it's all said and done, being over capacity impacts us more than being at capacity," she said.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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