Colorado Springs District 20 school boundaries set to change

Ten schools in Academy School District 20 could be affected by boundary changes that a committee might recommend to the school board, but students won’t have to switch schools.

The students will be given the option to swap, said Becky Allan, executive director for learning services and facilitator of a boundary committee.

“We value our families and know that when a student is at a school, they have relationships there, and we don’t want to sever that for any student,” Allan said.

Superintendent Mark Hatchell formed the committee in January, one of the results of a $230 million bond authorization that voters approved last November.

Some of the bond money will pay to build two elementary schools and one middle school, prompting the need to adjust enrollment boundaries.

The external boundaries of D-20 itself are not changing, Allan said.

And the district’s choice enrollment – which allows students to apply for consideration to attend a school not in their neighborhood – will remain the same, she said.

The last time D-20 boundaries were reconfigured was in 2006, for the opening of Ranch Creek and Chinook Trail elementary schools.

The process has been like solving a big math problem for the 24-member committee, made up of staff, high school students, parents and residents.

“We work with a demographer and use data from planned housing developments and construction, student enrollment projections, and we consider transportation,” Allan said. “We put a lot of pieces together.”

Four public forums are set to collect feedback from students, parents and community members:

◘ 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday at Timberview Middle School cafeteria

◘ 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday at Mountain Ridge Middle School cafeteria

◘ 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Discovery Canyon Campus elementary/middle school cafeteria

◘ 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 12, Chinook Trail Elementary School cafeteria

At each forum, Allan will outline possible changes and will field questions and comments.

D-20’s board of education will make the final decision in October.

“Modifying school boundaries is a complex and time-consuming effort. It takes a great deal of research, planning and projection,” said Tracey Johnson, board vice president. “Having a boundary committee ultimately leads to stronger and more robust decisions and solutions.”

The first new elementary school will open in August 2018 at Research Parkway and Black Forest Road. It will have a capacity of 600 students, and new programs and curriculum are in the works.

A new middle school will open adjacent to Chinook Trail Elementary, to create a K-8 campus, in August 2019. Another new elementary school will make its debut in August 2021 or 2022 in the North Fork neighborhood in Briargate, near Pine Creek High School.

Also, a permanent building for School in the Woods in Black Forest, an environmentally focused program for fourth-graders throughout the district, is being built to replace four modular buildings and increase enrollment. That’s to be completed next spring.

Elementary schools affected by the proposed boundary changes are Antelope Trails, Chinook Trail, Discovery Canyon Campus, Edith Wolford and Ranch.

The changes also will have an impact on Challenger and Timberview middle schools, Liberty and Pine Creek high schools and The da Vinci Academy.

“Because middle school alignment will change, so will the high schools’,” Allan said. “We have five middle schools feeding into five high schools now, but we’ll have six middle schools and still five high schools.”

Source:  Gazette

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