Proposed boundary changes for Ogden elementary schools

The proposed boundary changes for Taylor Canyon, Polk, Wasatch and New Bridge elementary schools, as presented by Ogden Superintendent Rich Nye at an Ogden school board meeting Thursday, March 19, 2020. Polk's current boundaries can be seen outlined in blue between the boundaries of Taylor Canyon and Wasatch. The Polk boundary area has been divvied between Taylor Canyon, New Bridge and Wasatch, as marked by the colors associated with each of those three schools.

OGDEN — Ogden School District’s Board of Education is in the process of determining where Polk Elementary students will go to school next year while their school building is under construction.

The district is seeking community feedback on a proposal to adjust the boundaries of Taylor Canyon, Wasatch, Polk and New Bridge elementary schools, so that Polk students will be divided among the three other schools.

“In the process ... really what we’re trying to accomplish is hitting the sweet spot with the numbers,” said Rich Nye, Ogden superintendent.

Board member Susan Richards questioned whether boundaries were top of mind for parents, given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nye said that even amid the soft closure of schools due to COVID-19, teachers and administrators at Polk are getting questions from parents about where their children will be going to school next year.

Polk is currently housing all students from Wasatch, which has been under construction. But that project will soon be finished, allowing Wasatch boundary students to return to their building.

However, neither Taylor Canyon to Polk’s north nor Wasatch to Polk’s south is as large as the Polk building, Nye said, so Polk students would need to be split between them.

Under the proposal, Polk students living east of Harrison Boulevard and north of 27th Street would go to Taylor Canyon. Students living in another small portion of Polk’s northwest boundaries, east of Jackson Ave. and north of 24th Street, would also go Taylor Canyon.

A small area on the northwestern tip of Polk’s boundaries would be shifted to New Bridge, squaring off the southeastern tip of that school’s boundary area.

Polk students living south of 27th Street and east of Harrison would go to Wasatch. Students living in the the bulk of Polk’s western boundaries — bounded on the east by Quincy Avenue and west by Harrison, and on the north and south by 24th and 27th streets — would also go to Wasatch.

An interactive school boundary map is available on the district’s website at findmyschool.ogdencity.com, which allows parents to see boundary areas and zoom in to see street names.

This proposal has been emailed to parents, along with a link to a Google form asking for their feedback, said Jer Bates, spokesperson for the district, in an email.

Nye presented four boundary scenarios to the Ogden school board at its meeting Thursday, but some proposals would take school enrollments beyond what they could accommodate. These scenarios were determined in cooperation with Ogden City, using the city’s population maps, Nye said.

As part of this proposal, the district’s program for advanced students, called the Advanced Learning Academy, or ALA, would be moved from Taylor Canyon to Hillcrest Elementary, increasing that school’s lower enrollment and bringing more resources into the school, according to Nye.

The selected proposal would yield estimated enrollments of 518 students at Wasatch (capacity of 600), 514 students at Taylor Canyon (capacity of 545) and 505 students at Hillcrest (capacity of 700), including the ALA program.

Students in ALA perform well on state assessments, Nye said, so the presence of the program raises the academic performance and school grade of the school where it’s housed.

Nye had concerns about moving the program to James Madison because that school is in the middle of the state turn-around process.

“If I really want to be accused of gerrymandering, I would move (ALA) to James Madison,” Nye said. “They would be out of state turn-around tomorrow.”

Contact reporter Megan Olsen at molsen@standard.net or 801-625-4227. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganAOlsen.

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