Davis School District releases high school boundary change proposal

Thursday , August 03, 2017 - 6:46 PM1 comment

ANNA BURLESON, Standard-Examiner Staff

The Davis School District Board of Education is looking at new boundaries for five of the district’s high schools.

The proposal was presented to the board at a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 1, but the board will not take official action until after public open houses are held to gather feedback.

The boundaries are being moved to accommodate Farmington High School, which is under construction and slated to open in in 2018. The school will have a capacity of 2,100 students.

RELATED: Process still undecided for Farmington High School mascot, color selection

The boundary changes would send students from Davis and Viewmont high schools to the new Farmington High. Other proposed changes include moving the southern boundary of Layton High School north. The northern boundaries of Woods Cross High School and Bountiful High School would also move northward.

District spokesman Chris Williams said the district’s northern high schools are already at or over capacity.

“What we had to do is look south,” he said.

Layton High has a building capacity of about 1,700 plus 14 portable classrooms on site to handle the 1,900 students who go there. Williams said the goal is to reduce that population by about 400 students.

Davis High also uses portables and teacher workrooms for classrooms and is about 400 students over capacity. Williams said the goal is to reduce enrollment there by about 550 students.

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Viewmont High is being renovated and is about 150 students over capacity. Williams said the goal is to get enrollment around 1,400 students there and at Bountiful and Woods Cross high schools.

If the boundary changes create the enrollment goals the district is shooting for, Williams said athletically Viewmont, Woods Cross and Bountiful high schools will be 5-A schools while Layton, Davis and Farmington high schools will be 6-A.

The district shared the boundary proposal on Facebook and reactions varied from support to outrage. 

Stephanie Gardiner Heiner wrote she’s disappointed because her neighborhood is being broken up and Rachel French wrote that change is hard, but ultimately, the kids will be fine.

Bekah Miller Prisbrey wrote she sees both sides of the argument.

“The thing that I'm excited about with the proposed changes is that a larger portion of Fairfield will go to Davis,” she said. “Right now the few kids from Fairfield that go to Davis know very few of their high school classmates going in.”

Williams said the board hasn’t decided whether Farmington High will enroll seniors, noting it is hard to plan staffing and class schedules without them that first year.

“They help teams and performing arts groups be more competitive too and have an opportunity to participate where maybe they didn’t if they were at an overcrowded school,” he said.

District policy allows families to request boundary exceptions for their children but Williams said the district is seeking guidance from the state to see how many they can or should grant.

“We don’t want to create a situation where the new high school is at capacity because we have so many variances,” he said.

The boundary proposal was developed by consultant Darrell White using input from an April survey that found community members value keeping neighborhoods intact, proximity to the new school and feeder patterns from the district’s junior high schools.

The district also used input from focus groups made up of community members from the affected areas recommended by school community councils and principals.

In 2018, the district will conduct a subsequent boundary study for junior high schools. Williams said this is partially because a new junior high is under construction in Layton.

The district is holding open houses for the public to view and comment on the boundary proposals at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at Davis High, 6 p.m. Oct 26 at Viewmont High.

The high school boundaries, once approved, would go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.

Anyone with questions or concerns can email hsboundary@dsdmail.net. Detailed boundary maps are available on the school district website.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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