The Grade Blog

Friday, Oct 11 2013 05:19 PM

Panama to make another run at boundary changes

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    By Courtenay Edelhart / The Californian

    Berkshire Elementary School is Panama-Buena Vista Union School District's most overcrowded school with more than 1,000 students. Some other elementary schools in the district have half as many. The district has revised attendance boundaries in order to even out the distribution of students.

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BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District is holding three public forums in connection with efforts to revise its attendance boundaries.

The meetings are:

* 7 p.m. Monday at Buena Vista Elementary School, 6547 Buena Vista Road;

* 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at Tevis Jr. High, 3901 Pin Oak Blvd.; and

* 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Miller Elementary School, 7345 Mountain Ridge Drive.

District administrators began an attendance boundary review process in November 2012 and floated a plan before the PBVUSD board of trustees in May, but the board mothballed the proposal amid criticism that the public didn't have enough time to review it.

Panama-Buena Vista has grown 16 percent during the past eight years. As of this month, the southwest Bakersfield district has 17,513 students, and expects an influx of still more as vast stretches of vacant land in the area are developed.

The proposed new boundaries were designed to even out the distribution of students in a district where some schools are overcrowded and others are underused.

Under the previous plan, junior high school lines would have been unchanged, but 14 of the district's 18 elementary schools would have had new boundaries for the current school year. The only elementary school boundaries that weren't changing were for Castle, Loudon, Sandrini and Van Horn.

The district is trying to manage its growth this year by leasing portable buildings and busing some students from filled-to-capacity schools to those with more room. But officials say a more permanent solution is needed.

A Boundary Review Committee of parents and educators will meet with the community at the forums to listen to public comments and suggestions.

After reviewing feedback from the forums, the committee will make a new recommendation to the school board at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Tevis.

The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Tevis.

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