District adjusts Gardnerville school borders
Rosealea Rieman, 5, a kindergarten student at Gardnerville Elementary, wandered around the high school media center Tuesday as her mother, Annalynn Settelmeyer, argued against a boundary change that will send the little girl to first grade in the Ranchos.
“She’s the third generation of our family to attend GES,” Settelmeyer told the Douglas County School Board trustees.
“Did you consider all the master plans for the coming housing developments in that area?” Settelmeyer asked.
“If my daughter enters first grade at Scarselli or Meneley, in another two or three years, will you have to move the line again?”
The answer was that the new housing planned for the Gardnerville area far exceeds projects in the Ranchos, a contributing factor for the boundary change.
Under the plan, 27 students from the Pine Nut area would move to Meneley. A total of 93 students from Ruhenstroth and Bodie Flats are set to move to Scarselli.
The district last changed the boundary in 2001-02, moving students from Topaz Ranch Estates, Holbrook Junction and Double Springs from Gardnerville to Minden Elementary. Students from the Foothill area were moved to Scarselli.
Trustees were sympathetic, but said the growth at Gardnerville Elementary and the decline in the Ranchos schools forced the change which takes effect for the 2005-06 school year.
Rick Kester, director of business services, denied that the change was engineered to adjust the number of low income students at the schools.
“No consideration was given to free and reduced lunch students,” he said. “One of our goals was to line up the middle schools with the elementary schools. We’re trying to look where growth occurs.
“Large, extensive housing projects have been approved in Minden and Gardnerville.”
Kester said the district can’t guarantee that the boundaries won’t change.
“We try to be honest in how long the boundary line will last, but it may well be we will be changing,” Kester said. “We won’t ever guarantee that they won’t change.”
Parents may request variances to allow their children to attend school outside their boundary, but the permits, on a case-by-case basis, aren’t issued until school starts.
If a child receives a variance, the parent is responsible for transportation.
Parents asked that variances be issued earlier, but Superintendent John Soderman said the schools have to determine attendance first.
“Some kids come, some kids leave,” he said. “Until they actually sit down in the chair, we don’t know who’s going to show up.”
Trustee Connie Wennhold, who lives in Ruhenstroth, cautioned against relaxing the variance policy.
“When you have a group being moved and other people get variances, it causes problems,” she said. “It’s a hard thing for principals to look at.”
— Sheila Gardner can be reached at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.
CARSON VALLEY ELEMENTARY ATTENDANCE
Gardnerville, 634 students
Scarselli, 540 students
Meneley, 546 students
Minden, 463 students
Piñon Hills, 469 students
Jacks Valley, 529 students
Source: Douglas County School District