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Trustees approve boundary blueprint

Plan keeps all Alta Vista students at Skyridge
By: Loryll Nicolaisen Journal Staff Writer
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Now that the Auburn Union board of trustees has decided where Alta Vista students will go after the school closes this spring, district officials are hoping to get a better idea of where those students want to go for the 2008-09 school year. All students currently attending Alta Vista School and children currently living within the school's attendance boundaries will call Skyridge Elementary home after Alta Vista closes at the end of the current school year. Trustees voted in December to close the campus because of continued declining enrollment. They voted later that month to shift Alta Vista's K-8 program over to Skyridge, currently a K-5 school. Trustees unanimously selected, at their Wednesday meeting, Scenario E, one of the five potential boundary maps presented to them for the upcoming school year. Scenario E leaves the Auburn Elementary and Rock Creek school boundaries as they are, and shifts the Alta Vista students over to Skyridge. It's a little less of a balance than some of the other scenarios, as far as how close enrollment is to maximum capacity, but was favored because it keeps the Alta Vista population together. Michele Schuetz, Auburn Union Elementary School District superintendent, gave trustees direction on benefits and drawbacks to each of the five scenarios. She said other scenarios were more disruptive or would have worked if the district weren't dealing with declining enrollment. A drawback of scenario E, Schuetz said, would be the potential need for an assistant principal ” a salary that would take away from school-closure savings ” at Skyridge, depending on how much student population grows and how close it gets to maximum capacity. Even with the consequences, Schuetz said scenario E was the best of the bunch. The more we played with it, the more we liked it. It leaves Alta Vista together so (students) can go to Skyridge, she told trustees. Trustee Chuck Heisleman said trustees stressed, while weighing school closure options, the importance of minimizing the disruptions endured by the Alta Vista population. Frankly, I think scenario E is the only one that does this, he said. Katie Carnahan spoke to the board at Wednesday's meeting. As a parent of three of the 90 (students) that would be displaced, I highly support E, she said. Two of Carnahan's children are current Alta Vista students and a third will enter kindergarten in the fall. I'm very happy, she said of the board's decision. We did not want to drive up to Auburn Elementary. Making the attendance-boundary decision was a top priority for district officials eager to move forward with the transition plan. This is a biggie for us, Schuetz said Friday. Now parents know what school (boundary) they live in. Schuetz said the district can now move forward with kindergarten registration, which begins March 3, along with school-of-choice submissions, transportation routes, planning and hosting parent meetings and offering tours of Skyridge Elementary. The Journal's Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment online at auburnjournal.com.