Plan to change Twin Falls elementary school attendance zones released
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Plan to change Twin Falls elementary school attendance zones released

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Rock Creek Elementary is healthy and happy

The exterior of Rock Creek Elementary School is shown May 14, 2018, in Twin Falls.

TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls School District is considering changing elementary school attendance zones, potentially shifting which schools many students attend.

The Twin Falls School Board reviewed the proposal at its meeting Monday. The district will not move forward with the plan until it gathers public comment later this month, which could influence the redrawn boundaries.

The goal by the committee that designed the plan was to keep enrollment equal throughout all schools and try to pinpoint where the most growth will happen in coming years. Two community groups studied data about different areas of Twin Falls to make those determinations.

Rock Creek and Pillar Falls elementary schools have nearly reached capacity and filled up faster than anticipated while other schools remained far under capacity, Twin Falls School District Superintendent Brady Dickinson said.

“If we allow that to continue and allow all the homes that are being built right now to be built and for people to move into those homes, we would have had a situation where both Rock Creek and Pillar Falls would be extremely overcrowded while some of our other schools had room,” Dickinson said. “And so the decision was made to try to get ahead of this.”

Some of the biggest changes would come to Lincoln, which would absorb some of Rock Creek’s students, and Perrine, which would also absorb part of Rock Creek’s area. The move would relieve the overcrowding at Rock Creek and allow for more room to accommodate for the growth in the northwest part of town.

In addition, part of Pillar Falls’ zone would be absorbed by Morningside and part of Oregon Trail would be absorbed by Bickel. A small part of Perrine along Washington Avenue would be absorbed by Harrison, a move also intended to relieve Rock Creek.

Proposed new zones

The Twin Falls School Board reviewed plans to redraw elementary school attendance zones. Shifts primarily relieve the overcrowded Rock Creek and Pillar Falls elementary schools. The board will vote on a final plan April 13 after three public comment meetings.

“The idea there was to create some room at Perrine so we could pull more in from the north because we needed to create a little bit of capacity so that we balance the numbers,” Dickinson said.

An area the district needs to keep an eye on is within the Lincoln zone that borders Oregon Trail. A development with more than 400 homes is being built in that area, which would overwhelm any of the schools in the surrounding area. The district wants to find a way to make a three-way split between Lincoln, Bickel and Oregon Trail.

“We do own land in the south where potentially a new school can be built at some point,” Dickinson said. “But again, we’re trying to be responsible and fill up the schools we have before we start going out and asking our community to fund a new school.”

Public comment meetings will take place at March 17 at Perrine Elementary, March 19 at Bickel Elementary and March 30 at Morningside Elementary. All meetings will take place at 7 p.m.

Dickinson said that the board is scheduled to move forward with finalized plans at its April 13 meeting to give parents in affected areas time to adjust before fall.

“We’re hoping that parents will come and ask questions,” Dickinson said, “... and then if there’s something that comes out that is a logical kind of situation in terms of why a line is a bad decision then those kinds of things will be looked into.”

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