Policy 7105, School Capacity Management and Attendance Areas

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PURPOSE
The Board of Trustees (“Board”) believes in balancing and optimizing enrollments among schools based on individual school enrollment capacities and program requirements as part of the commitment to the overall academic success of students. Such capacity management ensures the efficient use of facilities and demonstrates the Board’s sound stewardship of the public’s significant financial investment in these facilities. Through this policy, and any associated governing documents, procedures related to school attendance zones and zone variances within the Washoe County School District (“District”) shall be established.

POLICY
1. In accordance with state law, the Board of Trustees shall establish the school attendance zones of the District, to include determining which students must attend each school. Students shall attend the school(s) serving their residential attendance zone unless otherwise permitted through this policy and its associated administrative regulation related to zone variances.
a. For the purposes of this policy, school attendance zones refer to the geographical area in which resident students are assigned to a specific school and may include planned residential areas which have not yet been built.
b. For information on zone variances, see Administrative Regulation 5015, Variance from Zoned School.
2. Governing Principles
a. Through the creation and oversight of attendance zones, the District shall manage the enrollment capacity of the District’s school facilities. Final approval of school attendance zones, to include changes to existing school attendance zones, shall reside with the Board of Trustees.
b. Actions taken to ensure schools do not exceed optimal capacity will vary depending upon the need in a particular area, but may include:
i. Opening, reconstituting, or closing buildings
ii. Adding to or renovating buildings
iii. Adjusting school attendance zones
iv. Implementing alternative school calendars and schedules such as multi-track year-round and double sessions
v. Adding, relocating, or removing programs
vi. Adding or removing portables
c. The District shall utilize the following guidelines to minimize the need for frequent revisions to school attendance zones.
i. Acquisition of school sites as far in advance as possible to aid in the future planning and assignment processes.
ii. Evaluate the feasibility of building additional capacity on existing, overcrowded sites.
iii. Monitor development trends and track new residential projects to evaluate potential impact on school enrollment.
iv. Seek to secure additional funding for school construction and create lower enrollment/capacity ratios that provide for growth.
v. Recognize the value of lower utilization rates to provide for growth, lower class size, and program expansion and equity.
vi. Annually evaluate school enrollments, demographics and school capacities.
d. The District shall consider several factors when creating school attendance zones and/or rezoning of current school attendance zones. When appropriate, consideration shall be paid to any financial implications related to these factors. Such consideration may include, but not necessarily be limited to:
i. Safety of students;
ii. Proximity of students to an individual school;
iii. The impact student demographic changes will have on existing educational programs within each school affected;
iv. Availability of space;
v. Transportation issues;
vi. Timing of planned facility expansions or new facility construction;
vii. Growth impact, as determined by the number and location of approved but unbuilt subdivisions; and
viii. Capacity and enrollment of the school to be optimized and the schools in the area affected by the optimization process.
3. Governing Practices
a. The Board of Trustees will regularly review school attendance areas for existing schools and projected attendance areas for new schools. This review will occur, minimally, prior to the completion of a new school, and following the annual update of the five (5) year Capital Improvement Plan. This shall allow for the monitoring of changes in enrollment, demographics and program demand as it impacts capital program development. Such reporting shall include concerns related to school attendance zones, which may include such issues as student safety and transportation issues.
b. Procedures shall be established for the purpose of making school attendance zone recommendations to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees. Revisions to school attendance zones may be considered for several following reasons to include, but not limited to:
i. Construction of a new school and/or the construction of additional capacity at an existing school;
ii. Closing or suspending operations of an existing school;
iii. Rezoning to relieve overcrowded schools and fill less crowded, under-enrolled schools; and
iv. Vertical alignment and grade configurations of schools.
c. A standing advisory committee to the Board of Trustees, known hereafter as the Zoning Advisory Committee, shall be created to ensure school attendance zones are established as part of a cooperative effort between the District, the involved school(s) and the community.
d. Community involvement and a regular exchange of information is important for fostering and maintaining support for any zoning and rezoning efforts. The District will take advantage of every opportunity to involve the community in applicable phases of such efforts. To ensure community engagement, the District will use available media, including the Internet and direct mail to advise administrators, faculty and staff; students; parents/guardians; and the community of pending changes in attendance zones and methods for public input.
e. The District strives to accommodate family choice to the maximum extent possible and offers zone variances for that purpose as well as to relieve overcrowded schools, fill under-enrolled schools, and allow students to participate in programs, such as signature academies, not offered in his/her zoned school. A student may attend a school other than the zoned school if he/she has been granted a variance in accordance with this policy and the accompanying administrative regulation.
4. The Superintendent, through designated staff, shall establish any administrative regulations and procedures necessary to implement this policy, to include District protocols for establishing school attendance zones and zone variances.

DEFINITIONS
1. Rezoning refers to the realignment of school attendance zones based on a student’s residence. A rezoning may require a transfer of students from one school of regular enrollment to another school of regular enrollment in accordance with established District procedures.

2. The Capital Improvement Plan prioritizes the District’s capital improvement needs so that available funding can be applied to the areas of greatest need first.

DESIRED OUTCOMES
1. Through the adoption and implementation of this policy and its associated administrative regulations:
a. All educational programs and schools shall have equitable facilities that are provided and maintained in a timely and cost efficient manner;
b. The District will provide a safe and healthy learning environment for District students;
c. Communication between the District, parents/guardians and community members will be enhanced;
d. The Board of Trustees will honor its commitment to be good financial stewards related to school facilities.
IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES & ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS
1. This policy reflects the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan and complies/aligns with the governing documents of the District, to include:
a. Board Policy 6111, School Calendars and Schedules to Alleviate Overcrowding
b. Board Policy 7100, Capital Projects and Facilities Management
c. Board Policy 7086, School Closure
d. Board Policy 7110, Naming of Schools
e. Administrative Regulation 5015, Variance from Zoned School
f. Administrative Regulation 7106, School Overcrowding Management Planning
g. Administrative Regulation 7107, Realignment of School Attendance Zones
2. This policy complies with Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC), to include:
a. Chapter 278, Planning and Zoning
b. Chapter 387, Financial Support of School System, and specifically:
i. NRS 387.328, Financing of Construction of Schools and Other Projects: Establishment; purposes; accumulation of money for specified period; source; reversion prohibited; pledge of proceeds for payment on bonds.
c. Chapter 388, System of Public Instruction, and specifically:
i. NRS 388.040, Zoning of School District by board of trustees.
d. Chapter 393, School Property
REVIEW AND REPORTING
1. This document shall be reviewed as part of the bi-annual review and reporting process, following each regular session of the Nevada Legislature. The Board of Trustees shall receive notification of any required changes to the policy as well as an audit of the accompanying governing documents.

2. Administrative regulations, and/or other associated documents, will be developed as necessary to implement this policy.

REVISION HISTORY
Revised March 14, 2017.