Possible Westergard Re-Zoning – March 26, 2013

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Mar 29, 2013 1 Comment ›› aiazzidowntown20

Agenda Item 8.03 Information, Discussion, and Possible Direction regarding Student Class Sizes, Team-Teaching, and the Rezoning Process (FOR POSSIBLE ACTION)

 This item was a direct result of parents at Westergard Elementary coming forward a few weeks ago with a concern about the number of student at Westergard Elementary and the size of the “Team Teaching” classes there. This parent group has specifically asked for an “Emergency Rezoning” as they had discovered there were empty classrooms at both Verdi Elementary and Rollan Melton Elementary.

We asked staff to bring forward more information to this meeting to see the possibilities.

Here is a quick summary of facts:

  • There is no specific Nevada Revised Statute or District process that addresses “emergency” rezoning.
  • The Board of Trustees has statutory authority over the rezoning process and all rezoning decisions.
  • There are six classrooms using team teaching at Westergard.
  • Rezoning of Westergard and other aspects of northwest Reno occurred in 2008.
  • There is a Board Policy on School Attendance Areas (Zones) found here:
  • http://www.washoecountyschools.org/trustees/board-policy/operations/7083
  • 21% of ALL “Team Teaching” in the school District occurs at Westergard. (I have included the Table at the bottom of this post)
  • Westergard is the ONLY school that has four classes of “Team Teaching” (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th)

As of Friday, March 8, 2013 numbers were these; 

Enrollment as of 3/8/13

Team Teaching Capacities

Team Teaching Capacities Available

Projected Enrollment 2013/2014

Projected Enrollment 2017/2018

Physical Building Capacity

Westergard

698

708

10

702

692

690

Winnemucca

612

643

31

632

662

737

Melton

563

629

66

541

529

737

Verdi

193

264

71

189

243

450

There are MANY caveats to these numbers. Enrollment may change on a daily basis.
Physical Building Capacity is the MAXIMUM number of students with NO Special Ed or other District Programs in place.

 SO, WHAT HAPPENED?

It was widely discussed (but not voted on yet) that there needs to be a rezoning at least in this area if not district-wide.

  • A broader re-zoning effort would take 10-12 months.
  • So we asked staff to come back to us with more information regarding short-term possibilities;
    • How many students from Westergard would have to move to another school to eliminate “Team Teaching” altogether?
    • Could that number of students be moved to neighboring schools without THEMmoving to “Team Teaching”?
      • I asked for these regardless of zoning, I just want to see raw numbers to see if it is possible.
  • What methods could we use to get parents to voluntarilymove to a different school for the upcoming school year?
    • One parent at the meeting stated that transportation was her main concern. An option she brought up was if the District could find a way to have a “drop-off” at Town Center in Somersett, people may be willing to use that option.
    • Could we pay parents to move to a different school for one school year (cheaper than installing more portables)?

There WAS a map produced that showed a possible re-zoning area. I received a lot of e-mail with concerns about this map.

Mr. Baxley from the School District generated this map as an example of what his work entails. He told us that if he used this area, with his data, there would only be eight First Graders and seven Second Graders that would actually move from Westergard. What he was telling us, and what we all really know, is that this is NOT an “easy” process.

I believe we are responding to legitimate concerns by the parents. To get a “quick fix” in this instance is going to depend on the flexibility of some parents. The Board appreciates the way the parents came forward and are helping by bring solutions to the table along with their concerns.

Here is the “Team Teaching” Chart;

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Comments

  1. Ryan Sheltra says:

    Trustee Aiazzi-
    We fully support your efforts to create a better learning environment at Westergard Elementary School through immediate rezoning to relieve the pressure on this school. As I mentioned to you before, my second grade son is in a class of 40 children at Westergard; compared to his brother at a nearby Washoe County school who is in a class of 21. This is a common theme at Westergard; which ranks first in the district for amount of classrooms requiring team teaching. We fully understand that the rezoning process may in fact push us towards another school. Although this would not be our first choice, we believe the School Board must be able to act without the political pressures of individuals not thinking for the greater good of our community and students of Westergard. We encourage you to make the best decision possible for our children.

    Sincerely,
    The Sheltra Family

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