Parents fight for diversity at Eagle school
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY – Eagle County school officials are considering changing school boundaries in Eagle to alleviate overcrowding at Brush Creek Elementary.
One proposal would move 78 students from Brush Creek Elementary to Eagle Valley Elementary School.
Several parents were skeptical of the plan, saying housing development will out-pace it in two to three years, forcing the district to draw new boundaries yet again.
Other parents said the plan would decrease student diversity at Brush Creek Elementary, creating two elementary schools in Eagle with very different racial make ups.
Currently about 80 percent of students at Brush Creek are Caucasian, while 19 percent are Latinos. With the new boundaries, the percentage of Latino students would shrink to 14 percent.
“It’s already uneven to start with, and the way the lines are drawn, it’s not reflective of our small community,” said Eagle resident Tammy Humphries, who has first grade twins at Eagle Valley Elementary School. “Will that create a problem with intolerance in the long run?”
Meanwhile, Brush Creek Elementary school’s demographics would remain about the same, with about half Caucasian and half Latino students – a balance parents say is more in tune with the racial makeup of the town as a whole.
Hearing those concerns, school officials said they intend to rework the plan with input from the community.
“We’re just beginning the conversation and this might not even happen for next year,” Superintendent Sandra Smyser said. “Parents had a lot of good ideas we’re going to investigate.”
Whatever the solution, school officials say they must do something about crowding at Brush Creek. The school has reached 100 percent capacity, with 520 students total and 20.1 students per classroom. School officials say proposed housing developments within the school boundaries would exacerbate the problem.
Eagle Valley Elementary remains at 74 percent capacity, with 297 students and 19.7 students per classroom.
Parents suggested the school district try harder to solve the problem by marketing Eagle Valley Elementary. In the Eagle County School District, parents can choose to enroll their child in a school outside their local school’s boundaries, as long as there is room at that other school.
Mike Gass, an administrator who oversees student programing, said the district will ramp up marketing of Eagle Valley Elementary. Marketing would stress Eagle Valley Elementary’s unique programs, including the International Baccalaureate program. That’s a projects-based learning technique.
School officials plan more meeting with parents, possibly starting next month, Gass said.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.