The LCSD Board of Education recently voted to approve a boundary adjustment to the Bridger Elementary boundaries. The proposed boundary change will include the following:
- Students who live between 1400 North and 1800 North, and between Main Street and 1000 West will attend Wilson Elementary.
- Two bus routes will be assigned to the affected neighborhoods, so all students will be able to ride the bus to Wilson, including kindergarten students.
- Students in the Spanish Dual Language Immersion program or the Special Education Life Skills class will remain at Bridger, and their siblings will be allowed to attend Bridger on enrollment permits.
- Because the reason for this change is to create space to accommodate future enrollment growth in the area, students in the affected area will not be considered eligible for enrollment permits to remain at Bridger for the 2018-2019 school year.
- This boundary adjustment will be in place for the 2018-2019 school year.
The goal in making this change is to provide appropriate services to all students while promoting their safety, and doing so in a way that responsibly manages district resources. Bridger and Wilson are both outstanding schools with dedicated teachers, engaged principals, and committed parents. We believe this proposal will help both schools continue to provide the outstanding opportunities they previously have to students and their families.
How many students will this affect?
- It is projected that approximately 130 students will be bused from Bridger to Wilson.
How will this affect the enrollment at each school?
- Total enrollment will be affected by the annual movement of students in and out of the community, but our current numbers indicate Bridger’s enrollment will decrease to approximately 560, and students will be added as the new housing in the area is completed. Wilson’s enrollment is projected to increase to approximately 510 students.
What will the impact be on class sizes?
- All elementary classes will be staffed at the same student/teacher ratio we use at our other schools. If student enrollment requires more teachers, we will hire more teachers.
What time will the buses run?
- We do not know the pick up/ drop off times nor the total travel time involved with the buses yet, and we won’t until the route is finalized. Bridger and Wilson are roughly three miles apart from one another, so the travel time is not likely to be extensive.
- Students will be picked up early enough to arrive at Wilson in time to participate in the school breakfast program.
I am worried about by student’s safety on the bus. What will be done to prevent bullying?
- Our schools apply a number of strategies and tools to promote safety on the bus. They include:
- Creating a seating chart that keeps younger children up close to the driver with older students further back.
- All buses have cameras so students behavior and safety may be monitored.
- Our principals respond immediately if they become aware of a behavior issue on the bus, and corrective plans are put in place as soon as a problem occurs.
How will this affect preschool registration?
- Parents will register preschool students at their “boundary school,” so preschool students from the area affected by the boundary adjustment would register at Wilson. After registration at each school is completed, parents may have the option to register at another school location if there is space available.
Could portable classrooms be an option to avoid this shift and keep students in Bridger?
- Installing portable classrooms at Bridger would come with several significant costs. First is the cost of building or purchasing each portable, combined with the transportation and installation costs. Additionally, the projected increase in enrollment at Bridger would require that at least one portable unit be built with restroom facilities. The cost of installing new plumbing and connecting the new restroom to the city sewer system is prohibitive. When considering all of the costs involved in that task, the portables are not a viable financial option for the district.
- Even if the portable were financially possible, the cafeteria facilities at Bridger would not be large enough to handle the projected increases in student enrollment.
If the Spanish DLI program were moved to Wilson, would that remove the need to do the proposed boundary adjustment?
- If two classrooms were added at each grade, which is what would be required if the DLI program were moved, Wilson would use all of their classrooms, thereby removing the ability to absorb future enrollment increases. Since we project increased enrollment at Wilson as well, filling them to their capacity now is not a wise option. It would simply transfer the current overcrowding issue from one school to another.
Is this a temporary or permanent adjustment?
- The intent is that this be a temporary adjustment, and that we do a district-wide boundary adjustment after the Hillcrest and Ellis construction projects are completed in 2020-2021.
Why not do a district-wide boundary adjustment that affects all schools instead of just two?
- Three of our schools (Hillcrest, Ellis, and Adams) do not have the physical capacity to accommodate enough students to be part of a district-wide boundary adjustment.
- Our Hillcrest and Ellis construction projects are slated to be finished in 2020-2021. Instead of attempting a district-wide boundary adjustment that would have to be done again in three to four years, it was decided to make a single adjustment now, and conduct a district-wide boundary adjustment after the Hillcrest and Ellis construction projects are completed.
Is this an attempt to simply move apartments out of the Bridger neighborhood?
- No. Bridger’s enrollment has increased significantly over the last two years, which is what led to the situation we are trying to address. Although most of the housing in the Bridger neighborhood is apartments, that is not the reason for the change.
Why not keep the Quayle Meadows subdivision as part of the neighborhood being bused to Wilson?
- We don’t know how quickly the houses in Quayle Meadows will be built or fill with students. Wilson also has potential for increased enrollment over the next two years, and we need to ensure they have room to grow as well. Additionally, keeping the Quayle Meadows subdivision in Wilson creates unsustainably low class sizes at Bridger.