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Boundary changes unjustified

Posted: September 27, 2009 10:03 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I do not believe The Signal properly informed its readers of the true circumstances regarding the boundary changes adopted at the Sept. 16 Hart School District board meeting ("Hart board approves teacher contract," Sept. 17).

As presented at this meeting and at prior neighborhood meetings, one justification for the boundary changes was to create additional space at West Ranch High School for future residential developments.

However, these developments have not yet been approved (Newhall Ranch) or may be delayed indefinitely (Stevenson Ranch Phase 5).

Even according to the district, these developments are not going to begin until 2016-2017 at the earliest. So why the rush by the district to change the boundaries now?

The Signal cited Rob Gapper of the district in stating the changes were also necessary to relieve current overcrowding at West Ranch. However, a cursory review of the district's own projections clearly indicates the adopted boundary changes do no such thing.

The changes do not impact high school enrollment until fall 2012. By then, without any boundary change, West Ranch was forecast to have only 14 students above its stated 2,650 "maximum capacity" (it is currently several hundred students above that figure).

And without any boundary change in fall 2015, West Ranch is forecast to have only 2,233 students vs. 2,385 students for Hart High School, assuming a high school in Castaic is built.

However, with the boundary changes and a high school in Castaic, West Ranch will have only 1,954 students but Hart will have 2,664 in fall 2015.

So why the big rush to ensure that such a disparity in attendance between these schools exists in 2015?

Perhaps through the forced under-enrollment at West Ranch ensured by the new boundary changes, the district has created another reason to delay building a new high school in Castaic before 2016.

Without this delay, the boundary changes adopted last week cannot be justified.


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