Natomas Unified School District trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve a staff recommendation that will send all its sixth-graders to middle schools instead of elementary next school year, change the boundaries of two schools and possibly result in lotteries at some highly desirable campuses.
Anticipating a boom in student enrollment and prohibited from adding schools because of a building moratorium, Natomas Unified officials have been discussing how to deal with overcrowding since 2013.
Besides relieving overcrowding at elementary schools, district Superintendent Chris Evans said in a statement that the shift of sixth-graders gives them access to the International Baccalaureate program at Natomas Middle School, as well as technology, robotics, health and business programs at Leroy Greene Academy and Natomas Gateways Middle School.
The plan will:
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▪ Move sixth-graders to middle schools. Parents will be able to choose among Natomas Middle, Natomas Gateways Middle and Leroy Greene Academy. All future elementary schools would be designed as K-5 programs. Students at Heron K-8 will remain there for sixth through eighth grade.
▪ Shift boundaries that could affect Witter Ranch and Natomas Park elementary schools. The district also would create a choice region, where Heron families living in a specific portion of its boundaries could choose to attend either Heron or H. Allen Hight. The boundary shifts would not affect currently enrolled students.
▪ Add portables to alleviate crowding at Two Rivers, Witter Ranch, Natomas Park and Jefferson in 2015-16, once the moratorium is lifted. It is possible that portables will be needed at Bannon Creek, American Lakes and Heron K-8.
▪ Allow enrollment to be capped at schools as needed. The district will continue to accept transfer requests, but will hold a lottery at schools that have more requests than space. Siblings will automatically be admitted. Caps are anticipated at Natomas Park and Heron K-8.
Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.