The verdict on an open-enrollment plan to move students from crowded northern Davis high schools to Bountiful and Woods Cross High Schools is no longer "forget it."
The plan was tabled two weeks ago after Woods Cross Principal Wally Hawkins told the Davis School Board a committee had decided it wouldn't work."The bottom line is forget it," he had said.
However, after an additional meeting with the committee, Hawkins returned to a school board meeting Tuesday night at Bountiful High School and this time asked the board to give the plan a chance. The board obliged by giving the plan its unanimous approval.
"After we discussed back and forth we really felt as a committee we couldn't make up the minds of 4,000 students. Because it won't cost a lot of money, we felt there was no reason not to implement it. Neither one of us really have anything to lose," Hawkins said.
The approval gives permission for Bountiful and Woods Cross High School officials to begin "selling" their schools to students in crowded Clearfield and Layton High schools with open houses and letters mailed to students at the high schools. The approval also opens up a 30-day enrollment period to begin the first part of April.
Students from Bountiful and Woods Cross will not be allowed to transfer.
The plan says that any student who wishes to transfer from Clearfield or Layton during the 30-day period can do so without jeopardizing varsity sports eligibility. Currently students who transfer are not allowed to compete in varsity sports for one year.
"It was agreed that open recruitment by coaches will not take place. This will be strictly adhered to," the committee report says. Hawkins had given problems raised in sports programs as a primary objection to the open-enrollment plan two weeks ago.
If enough students transfer, busing may be provided from the north end of the county to Woods Cross and Bountiful high schools. Board members said they would wait to see what kind of transportation would be necessary according to the number of students who transfer.
A recent survey conducted in English classes at district high schools indicates there is support among students at Layton and Clearfield high schools for a plan to bus students to magnet schools. Whether the prospect of busing will translate into students signing up to transfer to the schools remains to be seen.
Of 474 respondents at Clearfield High School, 312 gave a moderate to high approval rating of a plan to bus students to magnet schools. Of 267 students surveyed at Layton High School, 66 percent gave a moderate to high approval rating of the magnet school plan. Students from both schools who said they highly approve of the plan totaled 129.
Superintendent Richard Kendell said he supports the plan. Speaking at a town meeting held before the board's regular meeting Tuesday, Kendell said that 2,600 students have transferred between crowded Jordan District high schools to Granite District schools without any incentive.
"We would like to try the voluntary things first. If those don't work this board is prepared to make boundary changes." Kendell said. "We'd like to try voluntary things before we try something coercive."