Boundaries for neighborhood elementary schools are expected to be set tonight.
The boundaries Teton County School District No. 1 has been working with have been tentative until today. Superintendent Gillian Chapman’s recommendation will be that students east of Virginian Lane go to Jackson Elementary, students west of Virginian Lane to Colter Elementary. Once Munger Mountain opens — expected in fall 2018 — students south of High School Road will attend school there.
Chapman’s recommendations for Jackson, Colter and Munger will be presented by Tracy Poduska, assistant principal at Colter, who is leading reconfiguration efforts.
The board of trustees doesn’t vote on boundary lines. That decision was made by the board several months ago.
“The boundaries are coming forward as a recommendation,” Poduska said. “There will not be a board vote.”
To mitigate overcrowding the district plans to reconfigure the town’s two elementary schools. Next September, Jackson and Colter will include kindergarten to fifth grade. In 2018 Munger Mountain Elementary School will open south of town — relieving stress on existing schools.
Jackson currently seats students in kindergarten to second grade, and Colter students in third, fourth and fifth grades.
Charlotte Reynolds, the district’s information coordinator, explained the rationale behind the current boundaries.
“These are the boundaries we are working with and looking at because they don’t split existing neighborhoods and they respect natural boundaries,” Reynolds said.
The district doesn’t want to split a street down the middle, for example.
The district hopes to get the boundaries clear before parent preference surveys are sent out in mid-November.
“Wherever we can,” Reynolds said, “we will provide parents with the option that their student or students attend their preferred schools.”
Students will eventually be expected to go to school in their attendance area barring extraordinary circumstances.
But the district needs to balance parent preferences with population and demographics to keep schools within capacity. Once all three elementary schools are open they will be expected to adhere to state student-teacher ratios.
While the district’s goal is balance at each grade level at each school, there is some variance in ethnic diversity.
With the recommended boundaries, Jackson Elementary would be 50 percent white, 47 percent Latino and 3 percent other; Colter 41 percent white, 56 percent Latino and 3 percent other; and Munger Mountain 81 percent white, 17 percent Latino and 2 percent other — posing a challenge for the current 50-50 dual immersion model in which classes are half Latino, half white.