Davis School Board members say they don't want a repeat of the recent controversy surrounding Salt Lake high schools when they start making school changes to address the district's school-age population boom.
"When the heat comes, if we are not totally together we can fracture and communicate in different ways. That will create a lack of public confidence," said Lynn Summerhays, a freshman board member and president Tuesday night.Veteran board member Ray Briscoe said the Salt Lake district experience should serve as a lesson that the board needs to protect its administration and make a united stand once a decision is made. Salt Lake Superintendent John Bennion came under intense scrutiny, and people called for his dismissal during the realignment of high school boundaries.
"There's going to be heat here and we are going to feel it. If we have to loose our seats then so be it," Briscoe said.
In hopes of preventing conflict, the board drafted a set of guidelines to follow when making changes in district elementary schools. The board also gave their nod to narrowing down a list of options for overcrowded elementary schools to four: boundary changes, extended-day schedules, year-round schedules and creating a kindergarten center at Monte Vista School in Farmington.
The board also approved a list of 12 schools that are candidates, because of their populations, to implement one of the first three options next fall. The board also agreed to limit the number of schools that could go on year-round schedules next fall to four. Officials said it was too premature to release names of four schools they have in mind for the change.
A task force representing eight of the schools on the list, all located in Layton, have already been studying the options and plan to make a proposal to the school board on Feb. 7. Other schools on the list are Knowlton Elementary in Farmington, West Bountiful Elementary, Woods Cross Elementary and Boulton Elementary in Bountiful
Guidelines for school changes adopted by the board for elementary schools, and which will likely be expanded for use on decisions at the junior high and high school level call for:
-Teachers and school staff, principals and the public to all have a say in the proposals. They will be involved in the selection, adaptation and implementation of a plan.
-A committee of representatives from all three groups to present their preferred option to the school board. The school administration will facilitate decision-making and provide any necessary data or information.
-Teachers and principals to be polled for their approval of any given school plan. The public's acceptance will be measured through public hearings. If one group does not give its support, the proposal dies.
-All proposals to consider the impact on surrounding, or feeder, schools.
-The board to implement the least disruptive plan first. That means examining the use of facilities will likely come before a year-round schedule change.
-Each plan to have a time line for procedure and implementation. After being implemented, all changes will be evaluated regularly.
-The school board to make the final decision.
The board plans to look at proposed options for high schools and junior high schools at is next board meeting on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the district offices.
The board will also make its first formal vote on guidelines for school change and the four elementary school options. A final vote will be taken Feb. 7.