Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Wed, Feb. 26

Middle, high school attendance zones up for discussion

KINGMAN - Parents of about 140 students living in a pie-wedge-shaped area northeast of Kingman soon will find out more about a proposed zoning change that could send the kids to a different middle school.

The students, who are slated to attend the sixth through eighth grades at White Cliffs Middle School this fall, are residents of an area that runs from Route 66 and Castle Rock Road to Hackberry. The Kingman Unified School District provides buses that route them to their destination.

About 45 of those students will be entering WCMS from Cerbat and Desert Willow elementary schools, while the remainder already attend WCMS. The zoning change would send them to Kingman Middle School instead, then on to Kingman High School.

"This issue of aligning the middle and high schools has never really been addressed until this year," said Roger Jacks, superintendent of KUSD. "But it has to be resolved because the staff at White Cliffs is maxed out. Now is the time to hear from everyone and get a decision from the board on what to do."

The district is hoping to make the change to help even out the number of students at both the city's middle schools, said Jeri Wolsey, curriculum director for KUSD.

The student population at WCMS, which opened in 2010, is almost at capacity now.

Currently, 587 students attend KMS, which has a capacity of 1,091 students. The district projects that 740 students will attend KMS next fall. At WCMS, the capacity is 800 students, and a total of 680 students attend classes now. The district is expecting 577 students at WCMS next fall.

The zoning change also will allow the district to streamline its system of student advancement. Currently, students from WCMS and KMS can attend either high school, and those participating in the district's Cambridge preparatory program, which offers a college diploma, are funneled to Lee Williams High School.

The district is implementing a new STEM academy program this fall at KHS focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. Students from the middle schools can elect to take the program, beginning in sixth grade at KMS and move on to the next level at KHS.

Currently, 742 students attend LWHS, which has a capacity of 900 students. That capacity will expand to 1,000 students this fall, when the district renovates three classrooms at the high school over the summer. This fall, student enrollment is expected to reach 1,000 there.

At KHS, there are 1,054 students attending classes now, and the campus has a capacity of 1,600 students. The district projects that 1,000 students will be attending the high school this fall. KUSD has an open enrollment policy for students but does not provide transportation for attendance exceptions.

"The bottom line is that for the first time, all KMS students will go to KHS, and all WCMS students will attend LWHS, unless they are participating in these programs or they fill out attendance exception paperwork," said Wolsey. "This makes the process much cleaner for everyone."

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