PTA volunteers will begin canvassing Davis County in late November to gather census data that will help decide how the school district will handle existing school overcrowding and a projected population boom.
Richard Kendell, Davis school superintendent, told the school board Tuesday night that volunteers will go door-to-door Nov. 28 through Dec. 12 asking 16 questions including status of housing, number of children, employment and race. The census hopes to document an estimated 65,000 households in Davis County.The census, patterned after the U.S. Census to be taken in 1990, will update district information about the number of schoolchildren that can be expected in the school system in the coming years. Kendell said that the district can't wait for 1990 census data because decisions need to be made soon about how the district will deal with growth. Parents with children in extended-day programs in Layton elementary schools have already complained that the district is dragging its feet.
"Based on current data, or present district plan, no boundary changes will need to be made," Kendell said. Those statistics don't jibe with overcrowded classrooms in north Davis schools. They also don't hold true for schools in south Davis County that were recently found to be below state-mandated 70 percent utilization requirements.
"We are uncomfortable with the present data base because there is more growth than the data anticipates," Kendell said.
Davis School District remains one of the fastest growing in the state, adding more than 1,500 students to its rolls this year. The district is expected to add 8,000 more students by 1996 or 1997, Kendell said.
The growth in schools, particularly in Layton, corresponds to projections released by the state Office of Planning and Budget. Davis County's population is expected to grow by 2.4 percent by 2010. Much of that growth will be a result of births.
After the census is gathered it will be computerized through an optical scanner and turned into software helpful to making boundary change decisions.
For example, Kendell said, by moving a boundary line on a computerized map, within seconds planners can know how many students will be affected and what growth patterns will be. The software can also be used in planning bus routes.
The census will serve as a foundation for alternatives being planned to address overcrowding and population growth in Davis County, Kendell said. Among those alternatives are redrawing boundary lines, busing students, creating magnet schools or changing to year-round or extended-day schedules.
The other alternative would be building more schools, but Kendell said this likely out of the question because the district is "bonded to the limit" and tax increases needed for new buildings are not likely to be popular given current attitudes about tax limitation.