The board of the Ventura Unified School District voted Tuesday night to accept the draft of a far-reaching plan that would change school boundaries and allow more students to go to school close to home.
The plan, which would divide the city into four geographical areas and change where as many as half the district’s 15,000 students go to school, was unveiled by district officials earlier this month.
Some parents have criticized the proposal, saying it would send their children to more distant schools than those they would attend under the present boundaries.
About 40 parents attended the meeting, many of them hillside residents upset about the proposal. Several asked the board not to accept the proposal until more detailed information is available to the public.
“The plan appears to lack some crucial information,” said Ron D’Incau, parent of two Ventura High School students. “I think the board’s direction to put the draft out to the public is premature.”
His wife, Barbara, told the board that the plan would cause “a daily disruption to hillside students.”
Officials said Tuesday’s action is not final. Some board members have acknowledged that the draft could change substantially before the plan is approved.
Beginning Feb. 20, parents and teachers will have the chance to comment on the proposal at four public hearings. A final board vote is scheduled May 14.
After the plan was discussed at a board meeting two weeks ago, the district was bombarded with telephone calls, many from parents who opposed the changes, said Jean Rudolph, administrative assistant for business services. After the initial flood, the calls began tapering off after many parents picked up copies of the proposal and read it, she said.
But some parents, particularly those in exclusive hillside neighborhoods north of Foothill Boulevard and in the middle-class Montalvo area near Victoria Avenue, said they remain opposed to the plan as presented.
Sheryl Baldwin, president of the Poinsettia Elementary School PTO, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that some parents have criticized the plan for its lack of specific figures.
“Some parents felt that there should be much more detailed information in the proposal,” she said.
Nine district officials came up with the draft after months of study. Officials said they hope that the changes will streamline transportation costs for the district’s busing programs and allow more students to attend the same schools together from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Aspects of the plan that have created the most controversy include a proposal to bus high school students from the hillside communities of Clearpoint, Hidden Valley, Ondulando and Skyline beyond their local school, Buena High, to Ventura High in the central city.
The plan would also assign students in the Montalvo area to Ventura High, although they also live closer to Buena High.
The first public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Balboa Middle School.