The final recommendations from the committee researching attendance area boundary options are coming next week.
After hearing from the public, the 29-person committee plans to hold its final meeting Wednesday, April 24, to consider “pros and cons” of each of the three remaining options identified by the public at a pair of outreach meetings this month. District officials and consultants presented the options known as A1, D1 and E at two outreach meetings over the past two days – for Spanish-speaking families April 9 and for English-speaking families April 16.
Once the committee makes its final recommendations – up to three – the school board will consider them and make a decision, likely by sometime in June.
Before that happens, board president Noah Roberts said Monday night, the board will offer some of its own outreach and opportunities for feedback from the community. While no specific plans have been made yet, he suggested ideas like coffee sessions with board members or evening meetings inviting the public in specifically to talk about the boundaries.
“Because it is a very emotional thing, we want to make sure that all of our community members have a chance to feel heard and express their thoughts,” Roberts said.
The boundaries will go into effect in the fall 2020 school year, when the new Verona Area High School opens and lower schools shift to new buildings – adding capacity for Badger Ridge Middle and Sugar Creek Elementary schools.
The options the public got to look at for both elementary and middle school boundaries over the past two weeks are known as A1, D1 and E.
A1, a variation on one of the initial options from consultant Mark Roffers, is generally similar to the boundaries as they are today, with some changes in the more rural areas of the district. Option E is similar to A1, but more purposefully sends Country View over capacity with the anticipation of another referendum for a new elementary school before 2025.
The most radical option is D1, which would pair Country View and Sugar Creek elementary schools, with one serving grades K-2 and the other 3-5. In that option, the Two Way Immersion program still split between Sugar Creek and Glacier Edge. That’s been the most divisive at the committee, coming out on top of every ranking it’s done, but also having a high number of last-place votes.
During their own “pros and cons” session, committee members pointed out that while the school would efficiently use buildings and walking zones, it would also create an extra transition and lose the opportunity for older students to model behavior and become leaders.
That divided feedback continued at the public outreach meetings. During the first meeting, a parent asked a committee member and board members how a community could be built for children when they would change schools after just three years.
Diversity statistics are similar among all three options. Free and reduced lunch populations are the most similar among the schools under Option A1, and English Language Learner percentages are the closest in Option E. Country View is under 10 percent English Language Learner students in all three options.