West Ada School District trustees changed high school attendance zones in the state’s largest district for the first time in eight years Tuesday, bringing some relief to Mountain View and Rocky Mountain high schools, both brimming with students.
They also approved new boundaries for elementary schools and a middle school south of Interstate 84 to reduce overcrowding.
In a marathon five-and-a-half hour meeting, trustees heard from parents who pleaded with them to develop a long term plan for growth and school construction so families would not have to go through boundary changes again any time soon.
Without plans to address growth, “we will be back to this very shortly with heated meetings and discussions,” said Mark Fitzgerald, a district resident and one of more than 150 people who attended the meeting. “We will likely repeat this process every three or four years.”
Mary Ann Ranells, West Ada superintendent, said the district is forming a committee to look at long term growth needs.
Trustees spent 90 minutes debating approval of high school boundaries. Motions to table the plan, and delay it for more study weren’t successful.
Trustee Carol Sayles was concerned about many students who would be leaving Mountain View High School for Centennial to help ease overcrowding.
Parents complained about safety issues, saying the Mountain View students who live in the Victory, Overland and Cloverdale roads area would have to cross the freeway on the Cloverdale overpass to attend Centennial High School. They said the Cloverdale overpass isn’t safe because it doesn’t have sidewalks and is only two lanes wide. “It’s not for students,” said Justin Perez, a parent whose home south of Interstate 84 would be in the Centennial zone under the new plan.
Clint Shiflet a parent on the boundary committee that drew the proposed attendance zones, said a number of students who live north of Interstate 84 use the Cloverdale Road overpass to attend school at Mountain View and there haven’t been problems.
Trustee also heard from parents in the Ustick and Eagle road areas, concerned that their students are split among Meridian, Centennial and Mountain View high schools.
Trustee Carol Sayles sought to have many of those students zoned for Centennial or in a three-way split for high schools kept in Mountain View high school, but that would have added to overcrowding at Mountain View that the boundaries were supposed to reduce.
The trustees refused of back a proposal by Trustee Mike Vuittonet to support the plan written by the committee and considered taking the proposal to district administrators for tweaking.
“What was the point of (us) doing this if now you are going to create your own plan,” asked Laura Pearce, a committee member.
“Let’s just get it done,” said Christy Smith, another committee member.
Sayles changed her position and submitted a motion identical to Vuittonet’s to accept the plan as drafted by the committee and it was adopted.
“The entire board changed,” Sayles said. “The process worked.”
High school enrollment
Boundary changes will leave nearly all of West Ada’s high school at or over capacity.
▪ Centennial: Current enrollment, 1,768; projected enrollment, 2,017
▪ Eagle: Current enrollment, 1,817; projected enrollment, 1,798
▪ Meridian: Current enrollment: 1.555, projected enrollment, 2,074
▪ Mountain View: Current enrollment, 2382, projected enrollment, 2,150
▪ Rocky Mountain: Current enrollment, 2332; projected enrollment, 2,188