Parents came out in droves to a Tuesday public hearing here to chime in on proposed boundary changes affecting 300 elementary schoolchildren and four area elementary schools.
About two-thirds of the 300 attendees opposed the plan, with several parents expressing dismay over what they called a lack of community representation on the school board-appointed boundary committee.Of the 30 members of the committee, made up of educators and parents, only one had a child affected by the proposal.
The proposal, approved by 97 percent of the committee, would require some Stewart and Centerville students to change schools. The plan follows a March announcement that no decision could be made after seven weeks of committee discussion.
Proposed realignments are aimed at equalizing enrollments at Centerville, Stewart, West Bountiful and Taylor elementaries. Stewart's enrollment is rising due to young families while numbers at the other schools are waning.
"Often, people do not like change. But we as educators know the size of a school makes a difference," said Marilyn Oberg, district elementary director. "We believe when we balance enrollment at four of our schools, we do good things for kids. We're doing what the taxpayers expect us to do, too, which is use our resources the best we can."
The Davis Board of Education could act on the issue at its May 5 meeting.
Under the plan, slightly altered with kindergarten projections, Centerville Elementary would gain 184 students living in the northwest corner of Stewart Elementary boundaries. Those children would be bused to their new school.
That would leave Centerville at 101 percent capacity and shrinking and Stewart at 93 percent capacity and growing. But it also would create an "island," which many parents dislike.
"This proposal has seen an uproar because it is not natural," said Stewart parent Debbie Bastian. "It takes a village to raise a child. Don't dismantle our village we've worked so hard to put together."
The plan also calls for 110 Centerville Elementary students to switch schools next fall, with West Bountiful Elementary taking 63 students just north of its boundaries and Taylor taking 47 students just north of its boundaries.
The additions would leave West Bountiful's enrollment at 101 percent capacity and Taylor's enrollment at 109 percent capacity, but those numbers are declining.
Just one-third of students transferred to West Bountiful would be eligible for busing. But others could apply for a seat on the half-empty bus, said Les Moore of district transportation services. The new Taylor students would not qualify for busing.
Many parents whose children would transfer to Taylor disapprove of the plan.
"We feel this is a bad plan as it relates to our children," said Scott Cheney, adding realignments would not improve education. He and 30 neighbors have vowed to resist the plan. "We just won't go."
But Taylor Elementary parents urged parents to be more flexible. Without the boundary change, Taylor enrollment plunges will force out three teachers.
Committee member Doug Smith said the committee considered numerous plans and suffered many headaches before making a decision. The committee will present comments to school board members, two of whom attended the hearing.
"We care about our children, your children, and we want this input," Smith said. "Remember, our children will be fine if we try to do the best we can do. It's the parents who have the problem."