Steamboat Springs School Board adopts new district boundaries
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously adopted new district boundaries Monday, changing where many elementary and middle school students will be learning next fall.
The plan accommodates the addition of the new Sleeping Giant School, which will have students from kindergarten to eighth grade. The three new boundaries will determine where a student attends school based on where they live, but the plan allows for some students to stay at their current school.
“The committee was very firm on making it work for families,” said Mark Rydberg, district finance directory. “Will everyone be 100% happy? I doubt it. But I think we have enough room and classrooms available that we can make almost anything work.”
Parents will be receiving information of their residency and about the timelines for various school choice and open enrollment applications in January. Current fourth- and seventh-graders will need to submit an intra-district transfer application form by Feb. 12 if they want to stay at their current school in the fall.
“They will be accepted, but we are asking for them to do those forms early, so that we can help staff and plan for the next year,” Rydberg said.
There are not any changes with the annual March open enrollment window for new students. Rydberg said that typically this is preschoolers, kindergarteners and a handful of first graders. This year, a number of students dis-enrolled in the district in favor of home schooling or another district’s online learning programs. Those students will need to reenroll as well if they wish to return to the district.
Parents will continue to update student information with the district in May, as in the past. This updates emergency contacts, vaccinations, medical information and residency among other things. A school of choice application can also be submitted during this time.
June 8 is the deadline for students not in fourth or seventh grade to submit an intra-district form to attend a school other than what their residency would dictate next year. Siblings of students in fourth or seventh grade that are already staying at their current school will get priority, but it will be done in a lottery to ensure a more equitable process.
“Because we believe there will be more requests this year, the lottery was viewed as a more equitable access process, so everyone will have more access and then a wider window,” said Eron Haubert, assistant principle at Strawberry Park Elementary School.
• Jan. 22 – Parents receive notification of residency for next school year that determines which school a student will attend. Information about various transfer and school choice applications included.
• Feb. 12 – Deadline for current fourth- and seventh-graders to apply to stay at their current school by submitting an intra-district form. All applications will be accepted.
• June 8 – Deadline to submit intra-district form for all grades except fourth and seventh. Lottery will be used to place students in schools.
• June 18 – District notifies families of their placement decision.
• Aug. 15 – Deadline for all out-of-district students to apply to district.
By June 18, students and parents will be told where they will be attending school that fall. In early August, the district will review the lottery waitlist to see if there is any additional space to accommodate more students.
By August 15, all out-of-district students should apply to be placed at schools with available space. Normally, these students would not have to reapply each year once they get in the district.
“This is a big change because usually when you get in as an out-of-district student, you are in until you change your mind,” Rydberg said. “We are only talking about, for the grades affected, about 50 students.”
There was talk of allowing Sleeping Giant School to open through sixth grade, letting the first class grow with the school until eighth grade. But amid a pandemic, the district favored opening the school through eighth grade to allow for more space to spread out students.
“Just with the way COVID changes the way we deliver instruction, we wanted to have as many classrooms available to spread the students out as much as we can,” Rydberg said.
The reshuffling of students means fewer students in each school. Next year, there will be about 120 to 140 fewer students at Soda Creek Elementary School and about 50 to 60 fewer students at Strawberry Park. It will also mean about 100 fewer students at the middle school, Rydberg said.
“The Strawberry Park campus will definitely feel less congested, and certainly Soda Creek, with its location, there should be a lot less traffic congestion and just less students in the building,” Rydberg said.
Preschool will be offered at Soda Creek currently and will eventually be offered at Strawberry Park and Sleeping Giant, but that is dependent on construction timelines. Rydberg said each of the schools in the district has room for growth.
All students will still be able to ride a bus to school, even if they are open enrolled at a different school in the district. Many students will ride the same, but they always have, even if the school they are going to is different.
“The majority of the bus schedules and service areas will be remaining consistent with what we currently have,” said Casey Ungs, district transportation manager. “Were going to try to keep the times as close to the current pick up times as they are and the service areas will remain the same.”
West Boundary neighborhoods include: Steamboat II, Silver Spur, Heritage Park, West Acres, West End, Sleepy Bear, as well as neighborhoods accessed by Routt County Road 129.
Central Boundary neighborhoods include: The Reserves at Steamboat Springs Riverside, Whitehaven, Fairview, Conestoga, Indian Trails, Dream Island and downtown neighborhoods east to Second Avenue. The boundary also includes the area east of Routt County Road 33, south of U.S. Highway 40 and west of U.S. 40, including Brooklyn, Treehaus, Daugherty Road, south of Walton Creek Road and west of Whistler Road.
East Boundary neighborhoods include: East of Second Avenue, north and east of U.S. 40, including Alpenglow, Fish Creek Falls mobile home park, the Tamarack, Hillside and Fish Creek Falls neighborhoods as well as Steamboat Boulevard and other mountain neighborhoods.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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Steamboat Springs part-time resident David Dennis is approaching the third-year mark from when his right leg was amputated below the knee.