A 24-member task force has begun studying options including boundary realignment, more extended-day plans and year-round schedules to help solve overcrowding in Layton area elementary schools.
Members of the group, two voting representatives and an alternate from eight elementary schools, met for the first time last week to study the dramatic increase in elementary-age children. The panel was selected by principals at East Layton, Adams, Lincoln, Vae View, Layton, King, Crestview and Whitesides elementary schools, Nancy Fleming, district area director, said."Four of five of the schools are at overcapacity and the growing number of elementary students compounds the problem," Fleming said.
The growth parallels Layton's dramatic population increase that has outpaced other cities in the state. The U.S. Census says Layton is state's seventh fastest growing city and eighth in size.
The overcrowding problem has been particularly pronounced at Adams, Layton, Lincoln and East Layton elementaries. Initially, only parents from those four schools were to be involved in the task force, but as the district took a closer look at the problems, officials felt the entire area would have to be included in a plan, Fleming said.
Among the options the district has proposed for the area include redrawing boundaries, moving area schools to a year-round schedule, expanding the use of extended-day schools, voluntary busing and mandatory busing. Four area schools are already on extended-day schedules. The task force has been asked to make a recommendation to the school board by mid-January.
"It is open-ended because some parents have felt they have had no say in some of the district's decisions. We are hoping that, given the same information that we have, they will come up with some of the same recommendations," she said.
At Adams Elementary, where growth has brought student numbers to more than some district high schools, Principal J. Forest Barker welcomes the study.
"There must be a readjustment," Barker said. "They need to properly address impending impact so five years down the road we don't have to go nickel and diming for our school programs."
The task force will meet again Oct. 6 when they hope to begin to study where building is expected to occur within the next five years. Assistant Layton city planner Fred Aegerter, who also serves on the committee, said the panel has its work cut out. About 47 percent of Layton contains land that could be developed, he said.
The task force is expected to use a districtwide census conducted by the Davis PTA in October.