District Holds First Boundary Committee Meeting to Redefine Attendance Boundaries
On January 30, Waukee Community School District held the first Boundary Committee meeting at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC). The goal of the meeting was to provide information that will help guide the Boundary Committee’s discussion to redefine the district’s elementary and secondary attendance center boundaries.
The meeting, facilitated by Robert Schwarz and Jay Harris of RSP & Associates, started with an overview of the Board of Education (BOE) workshop that was held on January 23. At the workshop, the board determined the boundary process should reflect the provision for maintaining quality educational opportunities at each school while also providing for the educational needs of each student. The board also identified top priorities for elementary and secondary boundary criteria.
Top 3 BOE Prioritized Elementary Criteria
- Neighborhoods Intact – Defined as RSP planning areas
- Duration of Boundaries
- Demographic Considerations
Top 3 BOE Prioritized Secondary Criteria
- Feeder System
- Demographic Considerations
- Projected Enrollment and Building Utilization
If a split in the feeder is needed, they believe the split should happen from elementary school to middle school. The BOE also believe balancing demographics is important to ensure similar student experience in each high school feeder.
The committee also reviewed updated enrollment projections for the district. The district’s annual increase is between 500 and 650 new students each year. Over the next five years, enrollment in all grade levels in Waukee Community School District is projected to increase by about 3,000 students.
Based on the latest projections, capacity concerns with existing elementary buildings will be temporarily resolved when Radiant Elementary opens in 2019-20. The district has started planning for elementary number 10 to address projected capacity concerns beyond 2020.
With successful passage of the bond referendum on February 6, the second high school would open in 2021-22 alleviating future capacity concerns for grades 10-12. With the project timeline, the current high school is projected to be overcapacity by nearly 600 students when the second high school opens. Without a second high school, the district will be faced with tough decisions that could adversely impact programming and opportunities available to students.
Schwarz also walked committee members through demographics and development trends. Committee members were shown how geographic information systems provide the ability to identify where students are located in relation to streets, subdivisions and parcels. There are significant areas of vacant land that will have a drastic effect on future enrollment when developed. Currently, Waukee Community School District’s student enrollment is projected to reach more than 13,200 by 2022-23.
The meeting ended with a group activity. Committee members were asked to create a draft of what they thought natural boundaries should look like across the district. An important takeaway from the night was the reassurance that NO plan has been created by District Administration or RSP & Associates.
The Comprehensive Boundary Process will include two public forums and five more committee meetings over the next ten months. The committee is expected to present a recommendation to the board on November 26, 2018, with action to approve on December 10, 2018. While the committee meetings are open to observers, only committee members may participate in the meetings.
The first public forum is scheduled for February 13, 2018, at 6 p.m in the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center, 295 SE Ashworth Rd., Waukee, IA 50263. The agenda for the evening includes enrollment projections, facility needs, financial information, boundary criteria and an opportunity for public input.