KUSD votes to change busing boundaries for two elementary schools

Some parents with children attending Hualapai Elementary School will send their pupils to La Senita Elementary School next school year.

The Kingman Unified School District governing board Tuesday approved a recommendation from superintendent Mike Ford to change busing boundaries in the area between Thompson Avenue, Castle Rock Road, Northern Avenue and Norrie Drive.

Roughly 65 pupils in that area will be bused to La Senita instead of Hualapai next year as the district implements the first step in a four-year boundary reconfiguration plan.

Letters will be sent to parents of children within the affected area advising them a "town hall" meeting that will be held before the May meeting of the governing board.

The town hall meeting will allow parents to voice their thoughts and get more information.

Under the state's open enrollment law, parents may send their students to any school.

But the district is not obligated to provide busing for children not attending their "neighborhood" school.

Schools must operate at maximum pupil capacity before any new construction will be authorized and funded by the state School Facilities Board.

The boundary plan is intended to meet that requirement.

"I'm not aware that the board has established a cap on schools, and what we're recommending is that we cap our (elementary) schools at 650," Ford said.

"The recommendation we're making as far as Palo Christi School is to extend its boundaries up Stockton Hill Road to El Rancho Drive, which is just below Riata Valley Road.

A lot of that area is not populated at this time, but it will be as the community grows."

Ford said 71 pupils would be affected by making the area west of Stockton Hill Road between Pasadena Avenue and El Rancho Drive part of the busing boundary of Palo Christi instead of keeping it in Manzanita Elementary School's boundary.

Board member Mike Cobb asked whether consideration had been given to further extending the Palo Christi boundary north along Stockton Hill Road.

"We've looked at that and the potential for growth, and what we see is another area where we're going to need another (elementary) school," Ford said.

"By keeping the boundaries in that area we feel like it makes a more natural progression."

However, a structural engineer is to review Palo Christi School to ensure its integrity is sound for at least the next 10 years.

That study is not complete, so the governing board tabled the proposed boundary change between Palo Christi and Manzanita until the information is available.

The board also tabled Ford's request for a cap of 650 pupils per elementary building.

Some schools have a greater student capacity than others and board members were unwilling to adopt an across-the-board cap.

Ford said he would come back next month with a school-by-school breakdown of pupil capacities.