Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2017

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Parents voice concerns over CCSD rezoning options for southwest valley schools

Southwest valley parents — some visibly upset — expressed their concerns about the three rezoning proposals put forth by the Clark County School District during an attendance zone committee meeting Tuesday.

The issue: The School District wants to alleviate overcrowding at five southwest Las Vegas Valley schools, which have more than 1,000 students. Next year, the district is expecting an influx of 800 more students in the area schools. The district is proposing to rezone as many as 2,700 students in an effort to level out student enrollments.

Rezoning options would affect students at the following elementary schools: Batterman, Beatty, Bendorf, Bryan, Cartwright, Diskin, Forbuss, Frias, Gehring, Gray, Hayes, Hill, Hummel, Kim, Reedom, Ries, Rogers, Steele, Stuckey, Tanaka, Wiener and Wright.

The consensus: Parent speakers were overwhelmingly against all of the rezoning options. Many of them were upset by the possibility that their children would be uprooted from their neighborhood schools. More than 100 parents attended the input meeting Tuesday at Sierra Vista High School.

Many parents said they didn't understand why their children were being bussed out of their communities such as Mountain's Edge and Rhodes Ranch. Instead of going to a nearby school, some students may be bussed several miles away to another school.

One Mountain's Edge resident said her current five-minute commute would increase to 20 minutes under the proposed rezoning plans.

Parents were also concerned that rezoning would upend their students' friendships and families' relationships in the community. Some argued the School District should have planned better for student growth in the southwest valley.

Michael Todd said his daughter attends Batterman, located just 500 feet from his house. All three rezoning options have his third-grader attending schools located more than two miles away.

"It's inconvenient and it's disruptive," Todd said. "I completely understand why they have to do this. But I don't think it's addressing the underlying problem of inadequate planning."

However, of the three rezoning options, proposal 3 received the most support, because it impacts the fewest number of students. Some parents advocated for a year-round school calendar, which was dropped a couple of years ago to save money.

Proposal 3 would move 2,498 students at 20 schools: Batterman, Beatty, Bendorf, Ryan, Cartwright/Gehring, Forbuss, Frias, Hayes, Hill/Wiener Jr., Hummel, Kim, Reedom, Ries, Rogers, Steele, Stuckey, Tanaka and Wright.

Parents argued proposal 3 would be safer for students, because they wouldn't be crossing Blue Diamond Road, which has heavy traffic.

If approved by the School Board, the proposal would move 14 to 345 students from a crowded school into a school with more space. Although no schools would have more than 1,200 students, this proposal would likely push 11 schools over 1,000 students.

What's next: The School Board will make its final decision during a special meeting on March 6. The board is likely to choose one of the three rezoning options and add portable classrooms to campuses. Other options that were considered previously include building portable schools, rezoning the entire district, reverting to a year-round schedule and double sessions.

Parents can voice their opinions on the rezoning options during one more parent meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Silverado High School theater. On Jan. 29, the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission, a seven-member panel that advises the School Board, will make its final recommendation on rezoning options.

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