In the Davis School District of the 1990s, most elementary students might attend extended-day schools, junior high students might be forced to attend split sessions in portable classrooms and high school students from Layton might get on a bus bound for Bountiful every morning.
Those are just a some of the options the Davis school board began studying Tuesday night to help address school overcrowding and a projected student population boom."I believe we can manage and accommodate growth, but we must keep the perspective that there is no panacea out there and that there is no single remedy," Superintendent Richard Kendell said.
The Tuesday meeting was one of the first steps in a process that may lead to boundary realignment of the entire district, busing high school students from Clearfield and Layton High Schools to less crowded Bountiful and Woods Cross High Schools, or creating specialized technical or liberal arts "magnet" schools.
For example, a magnet school plan could move science and vocational education programs to the Davis Area Vocational Center in Kaysville and move performing arts programs, communications and visual arts programs to underutilized Woods Cross High School.
The school board plans to form local committees and hold public hearings on all of the proposals.
Kendell said the changes are necessary because the number of students is expected to grow by 7,700 over the next five years. A districtwide school census to be conducted Nov. 30 through Dec. 12 is expected to verify those projections.
Hardest hit by the population boom are areas in Layton and the district's junior high schools, which are expected to add 3,652 students during that time. Even with proposed building expansion, the junior high schools may become a camp for portable classrooms.
"We will have to push portables to the limits cities allow us," Kendell said.
Kendell released a tentative time line showing boundary changes in key areas, particularly elementary school areas in Layton, will be changed in February and implemented during the next school year. In addition, the board is scheduled to make a decision whether those elementary schools should go to year-round or extended-day schedules by February. Three more elementary schools are switching to extended-day schedules next year.
Kendell asked the board to allow designs to be prepare for classroom additions at three junior high schools. Already, remodeling is under way at Central Davis Junior High School. He also asked the district to formulate a plan for portable classrooms to help accommodate student loads while additions are under construction.
At the high school level, the board has begun studying alternative scheduling plans. A full boundary study of high schools has also been suggested for next year.
Building more schools is out of the question, both because the district has borrowed as much as allowed by law and a move to hike taxes to generate building funds would likely fail, Kendell said.
Other solutions presented by three district committees, officials and school board members Tuesday night include:
-Introducing extended-day or split session schedules into district secondary schools. Under such schedules, already used in some elementary schools, half of the students would arrive early and other half would stay late. With an extended-day schedule larger classes like band or home economics would be held during an overlap period. The plan would increase capacity by 15 percent.
-Moving northern schools to a year-round schedule. While it increases the capacity of the building 20 to 50 percent, costs are high for installing and operating air conditioning systems. Installing air conditioning in Layton High School, its two feeder junior high schools and eight elementary schools would cost an estimated $5 million. The plan could also cause cuts in vocational and advanced-placement classes.
-Establishing a center for applied science and technology at Davis Area Vocational Center. Students could move from high schools to the specialized program to alleviate overcrowding.
-Contracting with Weber School District to teach Layton and Clearfield High students at less crowded Roy and Bonneville High Schools.
-Changing secondary schools to a trimester to allow for a full summer program and early graduation.