The Clark County School District’s zoning commission on Tuesday abandoned some proposed boundary changes that drew opposition during public input meetings last week but recommended moving ahead with zone changes for middle schools in Summerlin and North Las Vegas.
Dozens of teachers and parents from Fremont Middle School and Knudson Middle School voiced their disapproval Thursday for a plan that would have phased out the sixth and seventh grades at Fremont while the school was rebuilt and shifted those students to Knudson instead. Fremont teachers worried that their professional development program would lose two-thirds of its staff, and Knudson families said they would lose seats in magnet programs if the school had to absorb displaced students.
On Tuesday, the Attendance Zone Advisory Commission decided to leave the Knudson and Fremont attendance areas as they are — at least until construction starts next year on the new Fremont K-8 Magnet Academy — to give the district and community members more time to come to an agreement on how to proceed.
But the commission approved zoning changes affecting a half-dozen other middle schools in the North Las Vegas area as part of the proposal. Those changes, with others made to elementary schools throughout the city, did not draw much criticism from the public, according to the commission. Another plan to adjust the boundaries of Greenspun Junior High School in Henderson was not approved.
The commission also approved a conservative change to the boundaries of Rogich Middle School in Summerlin to address overcrowding at the school likely to be made worse by new development in the area.
The change will shift students south of Lake Mead Parkway and east of Crestdale Lane to Becker Junior High School and rezone new development north of Far Hills Avenue to Becker too.
But commission members dropped the second part of the proposal that would have moved Rogich’s southeastern boundary from Hualapai Way to Town Center Drive, rezoning Rogich students to Johnson Junior High School. Students in that area will stay put.
Members of the public who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting thanked the commission for scaling back the proposed changes. But both public speakers and commission members stressed that unless long-term solutions are found, both schools will be back in front of the commission for consideration of zoning changes next year.
Rogich parent Mia Pavicivich said more schools are still needed in a quickly growing part of Summerlin, where schools are nearing — or are already at — capacity.
Meanwhile, Knudson teacher Susan Sancrant said the magnet school’s priority is now to come up with a game plan to avoid coming before the commission again, including listening to what the School Board has to say in March when the commission’s recommendations will be up for final approval.
Commission member Justin Hepworth encouraged families to contact their state legislators and emphasize that funding is needed to build schools.
“There is a Nevada Democratic Legislature with a Nevada Democratic governor right now, so talk to them. They’ve got the ability to do it,” Hepworth said. “If they don’t, blame them.”
But commission members also pushed back on what they described as personal attacks and untruths aired at sometimes heated zoning meetings last week. Hepworth added that Fremont teachers could have raised their concerns months earlier, when the proposals were first considered, giving the commission a chance to move forward productively rather than delay.
“Rather than work against us on these things, it’s much better to work with us,” Hepworth said. “We’re more than happy to do what we can as a zoning commission. But that’s all we are is a zoning commission.”