Proposal would even out entrollment and eliminate need for one bus run


Proposed boundary changes in the Taft City School District will even out kindergarten-third grade enrollment in the five elementary schools and eliminate the need for one bus run.

That recommendation is the outcome of a boundary study done by technology services director Greg Mudge and transportation director Don Maxwell.

“Our goal was to provide two classrooms at each grade level and evenly distribute the populations throughout the district,” Mudge told the district Board of Trustees Wednesday night.

With a couple of exceptions, students would be within a mile of their school, he said.

The proposal suggests increasing the busing requirement from three-fourths of a mile to one mile for K-3 students and one mile for grades 4-8.

“There is no standard for walking distances because there is no mandate,” Maxwell said.

Supt. Ron Bryant told trustees he plans to hold meetings with parents and school site staffs before implementing any changes.

“Some school districts use a ‘walking bus’ system” where students gather and walk to school in a group with parent supervision.

“This gets us back to the concept of neighborhood schools,” he said.

The plan also would create empty classrooms at each school site, which could attract programs such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Bryant noted.

If adopted, the changes will reduce Conley School’s enrollment from 246 to 228, Parkview’s from 306 to 241, and increase Taft Primary’s from 202 to 206 and Jefferson’s from 170 to 223.

A special board meeting to address the proposed boundary changes has been tentatively scheduled for May 26.