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Potential school zoning changes for Washoe County students

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:32 PM PDT
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WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Washoe County School District Zoning Committee is trying to solve the overcrowding issue at schools in Panther and Sun Valleys.

North Valleys High, O’Brien Middle, and Alice Smith Elementary are the most overpopulated schools in this area.

Out of four possible rezoning options the Committee agreed on one, which it believes will help solve the problem.

It voted unanimously Thursday, April 15 to recommend option three to the WCSD Board of Trustees.

This would shift a portion of students to Bennett Elementary, and another to Allen Elementary with older kids moving to Desert Skies Middle and Hug High School.

”I understand on a personal level how that feels to have your student, your children move to another school, but everyone in their neighborhood will also be moving,” said WCSD, Zoning Advisory Committee Member, Christine Hull.

Members say this plan would provide the greatest amount of relief for existing and projected overpopulated schools and have the lowest impact on transportation by adding only one new bus route.

”You’re giving students to these schools that are underutilized and I think that that’s really important,” said WCSD Zoning Advisory Committee Member, Amy Howe.

As Reno continues to grow so does the amount of students attending our schools creating issues for our children and educators.

“Classrooms being overcrowded, teachers being overworked, all those things that aren’t necessarily a dollar sign for the district, but are going to impact our students in a massive way,” said WCSD Zoning Advisory Committee Member, Caylin Campbell.

When discussing movement across campuses, the WCSD Zoning Advisory Committee focused on student safety, educational equity, achievement, transportation, and minimal family disruption.

”We know how valuable public input is and how much this affects our families,” said WCSD Chief Facilities Management Officer, Adam Searcy.

Leaders say juniors and seniors who are already enrolled at North Valleys High, but would be effected by these zoning changes, would be grandfathered in to stay at North Valleys if they choose.

The Committee hopes to let impacted students know about these changes before this summer break and if approved, would plan to for the changes to happen for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Zoning Committee is planning to present its recommendation of option three to the board of trustees in May.

However, it’s unclear if and when any action will be taken.

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