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More isn’t always merrier

Enrollment expected to swell at West Ranch

Posted: January 8, 2009 9:40 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2009 10:00 a.m.

Though the Hart School District is expecting an enrollment decline over the next three years, seven portable classrooms will be placed at West Ranch High School to house a projected 213 more students this fall and a 308-student increase for the 2010-11 school year.

The student population jump comes from a temporary arrangement between Castaic and the District to send Castaic's graduating junior high school students to West Ranch high school for the next two years, District Chief Operations Officer Rob Gapper said.

The construction of Castaic High School, originally intended to house transferring students, was postponed twice since its 2002 approval to build, Gapper said.

To accommodate several years of incoming Castaic freshmen, however, the District adopted a "two-two plan" that keeps high schools from overcrowding.

In 2011, incoming freshmen will attend Valencia High School, as West Ranch will be at capacity once again.
Gapper said he knows the temporary plan is not ideal. "Valencia High School had more room," he said.

It would take 53 portable classrooms for the District to place all its Castaic students on one campus.

"If we put 53 portables on one site it would eat up the entire campus," Gapper said.

The projected $750,000 cost will be generated from Fund 49, which is money real-estate developers pay the district.

"The money is coming from special taxes already received and is not part of Measure SA funding," said Steven Sturgeon, president of the William S. Hart Union High School District Board of Trustees.

Portable placement money is not attached to the state's financial problems, Gapper said.

Davis Demographics & Planning, a consultation company the district used to project future attendance growth and decline, reported a four-year projected increase in student population at West Ranch beginning this fall and a two-year, 91-student increase at Canyon High School.

La Mesa and Golden Valley junior high schools are projected to begin exceeding their capacity in the 2011-12 school year, the report said.

West Ranch High School is now at its 2,600-student capacity.


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