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School boundary line talks advance

FARMINGTON — Progress is underway to review school boundary lines in Farmington School District 192.

Jane Houska, district finance director, gave an update at the non-televised work session of Farmington School Board Monday, Aug. 13, held at Farmington High School.

The public can request an audio recording of any work session meeting or show up in person to listen to work session discussions.

Farmington School Board first heard boundary discussions in November 2017, along with the potential need to change school start times.

"Our group that looked into it really wanted to keep it separate because they are two different things, but at the same time keep in contact because they are not too far away from each other," Houska said, referring to school start times and boundary lines.

Potential boundary changes could take effect in fall 2019 after many pieces are decided by community stakeholders, including transportation.

A Guiding Change Boundary Change statement will serve as a road map to guide the process. The district's goal is to keep neighborhood children together as much as possible and meet a desired outcome of contiguous attendance boundaries.

The need to redraw boundaries is linked two issues:

• some buildings are now reaching capacity.

• future student body growth related to housing developments underway.

The district's goal would be to have fourth- and seventh-grade students stay at their current schools regardless of any future boundary changes.

The committee met in May and the group includes parents, and elementary and middle school principals, along with the bus company leadership. A second meeting was held the first week of August where the group heard about residential housing development underway now and in years to come.

"We now feel we have the foundation and understanding of our district and everyone has the same framework to work from where we can really start to look at our boundaries," Houska said.

The committee is closely reviewing student enrollment at each of five elementary schools.

"We will look at how are we going to change or do we need to make a change — and maybe we don't need to make a change — and that is what the committee comes up with," said Houska.

The next boundary committee meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 16.

The group will give a report to the school board in October and present a couple boundary options. In November, the committee will bring a final option for the board to review.

The intent is Farmington School Board will vote in December.

"We will also have a couple tentative community meetings set up with dates but we have not published anything yet because we do not know how fast or how far we will get within a certain timeline," Houska said.

Farmington School Board Chair Melissa Sauser confirmed how the October and December boundary meetings reports will be offered during the work sessions.

Again, the work sessions are no longer televised as the board decided this spring to try a pilot project where monthly work session meetings held on the second Monday of the month are no longer televised. The work sessions are recorded in audio form only.

After Sauser asked the board members if there were any questions or feedback about the boundary process, no one offered up any queries or comments.