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Weber County education officials give preliminary OK to high school boundary shifts

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 13, 2023
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Construction continues on the new western Weber County high school, West Field, shown in this photo from July 2, 2023. The school is scheduled for completion in time for the 2024-2025 school year.
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This image shows proposed new boundaries for West Field High School, in orange; Fremont High, in blue; Weber High, in pink; and Roy High, in green. The changes, which received preliminary approval on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, are proposed to accommodate West Field High, still under construction and to open for the 2024-2025 school year. Boundaries of Bonneville High School in Washington Terrace, in red, would not change.

WASHINGTON TERRACE -- Weber school officials have taken a step forward in carving up the boundaries of Roy, Weber and Fremont high schools to make way for West Field High School, set to open for the 2024-2025 school year.

Last week, the Weber school board preliminarily approved new high school boundaries that would move areas now served by Fremont and Roy high schools to the boundaries of West Field High School, the new school still taking shape in the West Haven area. At the same time, Fremont High School boundaries would extend into areas now served by Weber High School in Pleasant View in a bid to balance the numbers of students at each school.

The boundaries of Bonneville High School in Washington Terrace, the other main Weber School District high school, would not be impacted.

Though shifting high school boundaries can be fraught with controversy, the issue generated little debate when school officials considered the changes last Wednesday. School leaders have been debating the shifts for around a year -- along with changes to junior high and elementary boundaries -- and the high school boundary proposal that received first-round approval was put forward last April.

Some 250 to 300 parents, staffers, school administrators and others have been involved in the process at various levels, according to Brock Mitchell, the Weber School District secondary education director. "They've really put in a lot of work to engage the community and consider every option," said Lane Findlay, the district spokesperson.

Indeed, just four people spoke at a public hearing before school officials took preliminary action. "I think, generally, that people feel very good about the process being thorough," said Janis Christensen, a member of the Weber school board.

Aside from a new high school, a new elementary school and junior high are being built in West Haven to keep pace with district growth, notably in western Weber County. School officials last week also preliminarily approved changes to existing junior high and elementary boundaries to accommodate those new schools.

Board members are scheduled to take final action on the three sets of boundary plans on Oct. 4, according to Findlay. They can still make changes to them up until then.

According to district estimates, West Field High School, being built on the northwest corner of 4300 West and 2200 South, would serve some 1,407 students in the 2024-2025 school year with the boundary shifts, about 70% of its proposed capacity of 2,000.

Attendance at Fremont High would drop from around 2,340 currently, 112% of capacity, to an estimated 1,522 next year, about 73% of capacity. The number of students at Roy High would fall from 1,929, 103% of capacity, to 1,741, 93% of capacity.

Weber High's attendance would fall from 2,185, 108% of capacity, to 1,896, 94% of capacity.

Exact counts, though, won't be known until the 2024-2025 school year starts. Students in 11th grade next year will be eligible for boundary exceptions to avoid moves if their homes are put into new school districts.

Among the biggest boundary changes will be the shift of much of the area south of the east-west Union Pacific rail line that parallels the 12th Street corridor in western Weber County to West Field High territory. Fremont High now serves the area.

Moreover, the northeastern Fremont High boundary will be pushed east to U.S. 89 into what is now Weber High School territory. Maps at https://bit.ly/3reZvsD depict the varied changes.

Enrollment at Bonneville High School, not affected by boundary changes, is currently 1,413 students, 91% of capacity.

In all, boundaries of 20 or more school at all levels in the Weber School District stand to change under the varied shifts, some more than others, according to Mitchell. Approval by voters of a $279 million bond issue in 2021 paved the way for construction of the three new schools, necessitating the changes.

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