Boundary Q&A

Boundary Q & A
Posted on 10/24/2018
Boundary Q & A

Q. Why is the Weld RE-4 School District seeking to change school boundaries?
A. In the fall of 2018, the Weld RE-4 School District is launching a public process to create an enrollment boundary for Severance High School (opening in fall, 2019). At that time, the district will also examine school boundaries district-wide in an effort to fix imbalances in elementary and middle school populations due to enrollment growth concentrated in certain areas of our district.

Q. How are boundary change decisions being made?
A. A Boundary Committee of parents, teachers, community members, and district leaders are meeting for several weeks this fall to review boundary needs, assess options, provide input, and make boundary recommendations to the Weld RE-4 Board of Education. The district is hosting meetings to collect feedback from the community. Recommendations will be made to the board in December. The Board of Education is expected to vote on school boundaries in December 2018. All 8th and 9th grade students, as well as all families impacted by school boundary changes, will receive notification of the changes in mid-January. We will include information on how to access the choice process to apply to attend a school other than your boundary school. There will be support available to help families navigate this process.

Q. Can I be involved and provide input?
A. Yes! All parents and community members are invited to attend meetings to learn more about the committee’s boundary proposal and provide input. Those who are unable to attend one of the meetings will be able to review presentations on the Weld RE-4 School District’s website and submit feedback to Boundary community meetings are scheduled for the following:
  - Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 PM, at Severance Middle School
  - Thursday, October 25 at 7:00 PM, at Grandview Elementary School
  - Monday, October 29 at 5:30 PM, at Windsor High School

Q. What are the Boundary Committee’s main priorities when considering changes? 
A. Over the past few months, the Boundary Committee, with the support of a professional demographer, has been evaluating various boundary scenarios against the following priorities: Distributing students equitably in schools across the district; Students having access to a boundary school close to home with other students in their neighborhood; Limiting the number of major roadways students encounter walking to a bus stop or their school; Minimizing the need for an additional boundary change if voters approve funding for another elementary school in the next few years; and Minimizing the number of current elementary school families impacted by a change. Accounting for planned future growth

Q. What is the district doing to plan for future overcrowding at the elementary and middle schools?
A. The district's Long Range Facility Planning Committee meets regularly to assess our district's need for additional capacity, including the need for new schools. The Committee's 2018 report anticipated the need for a new elementary school in the near future. The construction of a new school would require placing a bond and mill levy on a future election ballot. The Weld RE-4 Board of Education's approval would be needed to move forward with placing a bond and mill levy on a future ballot. The Long Range Facility Planning Committee is meeting again in January 2019 to review current projections and will make recommendations in February 2019, which could include a future bond and mill levy, to the Board of Education.

Q. Can I "choice-in/open enroll" my student to a school that is outside my boundary?
A. Yes, if there is space. Per Colorado law, all school districts must provide a way for non-resident students to apply to be considered for attendance at schools in other district. This process also applies to students who live in-district, but would like to attend a school other than their boundary school. In-district students who would like to attend an in-district school that isn't their boundary school have priority over out-of-district students wanting to attend a Weld RE-4 District school. Parents who wish to enroll their student at a Weld RE-4 District school that is outside of their neighborhood school's boundary must submit the request through our district's School Choice process. Families will be notified of the intent to enroll/open enrollment process for this boundary change in January 2019.

Q. Will my student be provided transportation?
 A. Transportation is provided to students attending their boundary schools under the district's current transportation guidelines. Students who attend a school other than their boundary school provide their own transportation. View: Transportation policy and busing guidelines

Q. The boundary change process seems rushed. When did it start? What was the process? How was input received?
A. While our Boundary Committee began to devise boundary solutions in August, this is something we have been tracking, planning for, and communicating since voters approved a new high school in 2016 and since we reached capacity at Range View Elementary School. We meet regularly with all of the municipalities in the Weld RE-4 boundary to understand and plan for the impact growth and development has on our schools.

The district's Long Range Planning Committee makes annual reports to the Board of Education every January. The committee began looking at current capacity issues related to boundaries in 2017. In January of 2018, the Committee recommended that the district change its boundaries for the 2019-2020 school year to alleviate immediate overcrowding challenges. The Committee also anticipated the need to go to voters with a bond and mill levy for the 2020 election to fund a new elementary school and relieve overcrowding at both middle schools. This information was shared in detail with families through the superintendent's message in January 2018.

At the start of the 2018-19 school year, the district shared information in August about the boundary process that would take place this fall in the superintendent's communications. 

A Boundary Committee, made up of parents and staff, was formed in August 2018 and met four times with a professional demographer to examine how to fix imbalances in student enrollment across the district. Communications about community meetings to provide feedback on the boundary proposals were sent directly to families by schools and by the district and were posted on the district's website and Facebook page

In October 2018, the Committee shared its recommendations with the community at three well-attended community meetings on Oct. 23, 25, and 29. input was received at those meetings as well as through the district's email account. All feedback provided is being carefully considered by the district and the Boundary Committee.

Q. Why is the district only addressing this now, when overcrowding is already a problem?
A. The school district meets regularly with the communities in our area to understand and anticipate growth. This information is shared with the school district's Long Range Planning Committee, which has been meeting on a regular basis for years. The district has made boundary adjustments over the years as needed, but has tried its best to do so intentionally, only when absolutely necessary as to limit disruptions and transitions for students. While the district had hoped to wait to adjust elementary school boundaries until a new school was built, growth occurred quickly in some areas which put too much pressure on Range View Elementary School. While the need for a new elementary school is on the horizon, today our existing schools have the capacity to serve all of the students who live in Weld RE-4. To best serve students and effectively leverage funding from taxpayers, our most prudent path forward is to adjust boundaries for the 2019-2020 school year.

Q. Who is responsible for funding new schools built in the Weld RE-4 School District? Do developers or new residents bear any responsibility?
A. The district works with developers for either the dedication of school sites or the payment of fees in lieu of dedication, or sometimes the combination of both. These funds can only be used to purchase and develop future school sites. While the district has a growing tax base, we receive the same per-pupil funding in the general fund with more coming from local sources and less equalized by the state. In order to build new schools, we must seek approval from our taxpayers to issue new debt.

Q. Can all current students be "grandfathered-in", or allowed to stay at their current school, while new and future students only would attend the new boundary schools?
A. It won't be possible for all students to stay at their current schools. The boundary change is happening to provide immediate overcrowding relief to schools that are currently over capacity. Allowing all students to stay at their current schools and only having new and future students move to the new boundary would not solve the immediate overcrowding problem.

Q. Can some students, such as current 4th graders, be "grandfathered-in" at their current schools?
A. This is something the district, a demographer, and the Boundary Committee are looking into.

Q. If our schools are overcrowded, why can't we remove out-of-district students?
A. While open enrollment is state law, due to capacity constraints Weld RE-4 Schools accept few enrollment applications from students who do not live in our school boundaries. In fact, the number of students who "choice in" from out-of-district is roughly the same as the number of in-district students who "choice out" to other districts. The percentage is so small, it does not impact our overcrowding challenges. Our capacity issues come from growth within our own boundaries.

Q. Will my current Kindergartner or first grader have to make another transition if a new elementary school is built in the next five years?
A. This is a possibility and something the district, a demographer, and the Boundary Committee are looking into.

Q. Why do students within the proposed Tozer-Mountain View boundary attend two different middle schools?
A. As is the case with the current secondary boundary, the Tozer-Mountain View attendance area is split among the two middle schools. This is because five elementary schools won't allow for an even feeder system into middle and high schools. The Boundary Committee did look at ways to have Tozer-Mountain View students all attend the same middle school, but it wasn't possible without creating major capacity issues at one school or the other.

Q. Under the proposed boundary change, my Windsor High School student would attend Severance High School. Can my student still play varsity sports at SHS next year?
A. Severance High School (SHS) will open with 9th and 10th grade students in August 2019 and will offer several varsity-level sports. These will include wrestling, golf, cross country, track, tennis, cheer, and dance. Varsity swimming and diving, and lacrosse will also be offered to SHS students, but the teams will continue to be at Windsor High School (WHS). The remaining team sports: football, volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer will be Junior Varsity (JV) for only the first year. This is because SHS will open in the second year of a two-year scheduling cycle. Contests with CHSAA schools aren't readily available since schools set their home and away schedules the previous year. Although these teams will start primarily with JV contests, SHS will schedule some varsity contests based on availability and tournament play next year. All sports will begin in the 4A CHSAA classification except for football, cross country, track, and wrestling, which may be in a different classification. There will be an information night for families to learn about SHS on February 5, 2019. 

Current freshmen who plan to attend SHS as sophomores, and are playing on a varsity team at WHS this school year, have several options available to them:
(1) Students can request consideration, via the district's open enrollment process, to continue attending WHS. Note: open enrollment applicants are not guaranteed attendance at their chosen school.
(2) Students can attend SHS and play at WHS for one year until SHS begins with all varsity teams the following year.
(3) Students can attend SHS and play at WHS for the next three years in their chosen sport.

Q. Will my child's International Baccalaureate (IB) background prepare them for academic success in a Project-Based Learning (PBL) school?
A. Yes, your child's IB background will prepare them for academic success in a PBL school. While these programs do have some differences, both focus on instruction and learning that goes beyond isolated mastery of facts and figures. IB and PBL curricula focus on developing skills in inquiry, critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, and creativity. Both curriculum delivery models stress student learning and engagement centered on conception understanding through authentic demonstrations of learning.

Q. What will schools do to ensure a smooth transition for our students?
A. As a district, we are prepared to support student transitions. Principals, teachers, and students are excited to welcome new families into their communities. We will make sure that those who are impacted have the opportunity to get to know their new schools and make connections prior to the end of this school year. We are committed to setting every family up for a positive and successful school experience.

Q. Why will certain neighborhoods potentially be impacted multiple times should a new elementary school be built in the future?
A. We are seeing a concentration of growth in certain communities within our district. In the next request for funding from voters, we will prioritize building a new elementary school where the growth has occurred and in a location that will allow students to attend a school in close proximity to their homes. This could initiate a second move for a few current kindergarten and/or first-grade students should a ballot measure be brought to and approved by the voters in 2020. If approved, the new school would potentially open in 2023-2024. In the long term, the new school will allow us to better serve students in (or near) their own neighborhood.

Q. Will after-school care be provided at my student's new elementary school?
A. Yes. All elementary schools have third-party fee-based before/after-school providers. To learn more please contact the providers directly.
ABC Child Development Centers
Windmill Child Enrichment Center