Boundary bounces are a necessity for schools

We’re not sure which of several options for School District 51 boundary adjustments makes the most sense economically or academically, and would cause the least disruption to schools, students and families.

That’s something the District 51 Board of Education must determine, including district staff and parents and students from the communities involved.

But the prospect of adjusting elementary school boundaries points to a perennial problem for a large school district with more than 50 different school buildings and an ever-shifting population. It’s all but impossible to keep student enrollment equitably divided so that each school functions at its optimum level of students.

People move, and move again, and demographic trends change, even within the relatively narrow confines of the Grand Valley. And these changes can happen so quickly that attempts to change school boundaries to accommodate them can be out of date almost before they are implemented.

This was illustrated by a comment reported by The Daily Sentinel’s Emily Anderson in her Thursday article about crowding at Fruita elementary schools and possible boundary changes to alleviate it. Rim Rock Elementary School Principal Tami Kramer said that students living in an area currently connected to Shelledy Elementary — which would be shifted to the Loma Elementary School attendance area under one of the options currently being considered — have been shifted from Shelledy to Loma and back to Shelledy within the past decade.

That’s a lot of moving from one school area to another without ever changing one’s home address. And it is no doubt rough on families, especially those with multiple children, who have repeatedly switched from one school to the other.

We don’t envy the school board in the decisions it must make regarding school boundaries, even as it works to continue trimming the district’s budget.

But it makes little sense to pack children into overcrowded classrooms in Rim Rock and Shelledy when schools not far away, such as Broadway, are significantly under-utilized.

Some boundary adjustments are needed once again.


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