To create more consistency in dealing with bulging schools, Granite District's Board of Education has developed criteria that will automatically trigger a study of housing options for an overcrowded school.
Elementary schools will initiate a study when more than four relocatable units are necessary to house students. At secondary schools, more than seven relocatables will be the threshold for a review of options.In each instance, the study must involve the community. Among options that will be looked at are boundary changes, busing students out of the neighborhood, staggered or double sessions, year-round scheduling and/or creative staffing options.
The district is facing some serious overcrowding in west-side schools in the next few years. Space is available in some east-side schools and is, in fact, being filled by students from Jordan District, said Riley O'Neil, associate district superintendent.
"We do have space, but it isn't where the kids are," he said.
The district's high schools likely will be able to handle the growing student population for the next few years, "If everything stays perfect," said Assistant Superintendent Frank Willardsen.
"We are looking at a complex set of variables that impact both junior and elementary schools," said Diane Hesleph, who heads the district's junior high school program.
More students are being enrolled in Granite schools, and they are staying longer. Changing demography is putting more pressure on the northwest end of the valley and a stronger economy is reducing the outmigration from the Salt Lake Valley.
Creative staffing and scheduling have reduced the number of relocatable units needed for elementary schools next year from 34 to six, said Dave Adamson, supervisor of elementary education.
The Utah Legislature has discouraged school construction for the past few years, so building to meet housing needs is not a likely option, O'Neil said.