A group of East High parents say they're tired of getting the runaround on the issue of lopsided East-Highland enrollment. They're again pushing for a boundary adjustment or open enrollment with an enrollment ceiling at each high school.
"In the spring you say it's too late to do anything for next year. In the fall you say you'll study it. You made the rules. Are you willing to live up to your commitment?" Clark Wood, co-chairman of the East High Community Council, a school group of parents, administrators and teachers, asked the Salt Lake Board of Education this week.At issue is East's dwindling enrollment and the criteria used to redraw the high school boundaries three years ago. One boundary criterion was that high school enrollments be balanced as closely as possible with no more than a 200-student difference between schools. Other criteria included a balance of test scores and minority populations.
Last spring, Highland had 400 more students than East. In December, that difference had grown to 505. In an effort to correct the disparity, the school board has adjusted its closed high-school enrollment policy to let up to 100 Highland students transfer to East and has placed a districtwide business program at East.
The parents said that's not enough. They have appeared at several board meetings in the past year, complaining that the school's smaller-than-expected numbers cause the school to lose teachers, thus threatening to erode quality programs.
Parent Joy Orton said East lost 11 teachers before this school year and faces the projected loss of another one ortwo teachers next fall because of the dropping enrollment.
However, district personnel director J. Dale Manning said he thinks statistics may be too high. He said East has lost at least six teachers, but he would have to check records to be certain of the exact number.
Board member Alan Mecham, who represents the Highland area, said the board doesn't have a policy on maintaining criteria for redrawing the boundaries.