School Zone Changes

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

The average size of a second grade classroom at Virginia Palmer Elementary School is 34 students.

With only 21 classrooms, Kathleen Diesner, the principal, says finding room for more than 600 kids is a little challenging.
"Virginia Palmer elementary school has 617 students. We have a high ESL school population. At this point in time our classrooms are bursting at the seams."

Corrine Weisner has taught at Palmer for the last 15 years.
She says it's getting a little out of hand.
"I teach second grade and we are so crowded, we are trying to make one big classroom into two classrooms. We have a portable wall that goes down the middle. We have 17 students and one teacher on each side. So, we are teaching at the same time."

It's a crowded situation that many teachers at this school hoped would be eased by a zone change Diesner says that would have put more kids at Esther Bennett Elementary school just up the road.
"From a parent stand point, I definitely understand their concerns. I definitely do when your child can walk to school. We probably would have given a few variences out to the students who were within walking distance."

But, at Tuesday night's school board meeting... several parents spoke up about the change that would bus kids to Bennett next year even though they're walking to Palmer this year.
It was a factor considered by the board... in the end, all 19 out of the 21 schools were approved for re-zoning: all except for Palmer and Bennett.

"Had we been able to re-zone, Esther Bennett has 31 classrooms and their population is in the 570s right now. So, you can see they would have had more space for these students."

* If you have a question about where your child will attend next year, call your child's school.
Here is a list of the 21 schools discussed during Tuesday night's zone change meeting:

Lois Allen
Esther Beck
Rita Cannan
Glenn Duncan
Bernice Mathews
Virginia Palmer
Sun Valley

Anderson
Jessie Beck
Libby Booth
Roger Corbett
Edwin Dodson
Donner Springs
Roy Gomm
Hidden Valley
Hunter Lake
Echo Loder
Mount Rose
Smithridge
Veterans Memorial
Grace Warner

There are 40 elementary schools left to consider for zone changes before next school year, but not all will go into effect immediately.
The next group of schools, in the "old Sparks area" will be discussed at a meeting April 12th.


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