Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : School District’s Boundary Plans Unveiled : Education: Newhall board’s 28 proposals to relieve overcrowding run the gamut between simple and baffling. Many students may have to transfer.


The 28 proposed new educational boundary plans for the local school district come in simple, complex and downright baffling--and Mindy Braun doesn’t like any of them.

Her two children would be moved to a different school next fall no matter which of the plans, unveiled by the Newhall School District’s board at its meeting Tuesday night, are implemented.

Braun, in an interview after the meeting, said she doesn’t want her children moved because they would be away from many long-time friends. She said she remembers how bad things were when they switched schools after she moved four years ago.


“It was very traumatic,” she said. “I had my fourth-grader come home every day and cry because he had no friends.”

The proposed boundary changes are necessary to relieve overcrowding at existing six elementary schools while providing enough students for the new Stevenson Ranch Elementary School, opening this fall in a large housing development just west of the city limits, said Supt. J. Michael McGrath.

McGrath said that 283 students who live in the Stevenson Ranch complex will attend the new school, but about 225 students have to be transferred from Santa Clarita to provide it with adequate attendance.

“The areas we have concentrated on are neighborhoods where the children are already on buses, or are closer to Stevenson Ranch than other neighborhood schools,” he told the crowd of about 75 parents who gathered at Wiley Canyon Elementary School.

Although debate at past meetings on the topic has been heated, the two-hour presentation and discussion Tuesday was low-key, with most audience members talking among themselves in low tones and taking notes during the presentation. There were, however, plenty of emotional discussions afterward, outside the building.

“The bottom line is most people want it to be somebody else,” said Pauline Bell, a Valencia resident who said her three children appear unlikely to be transferred.


At the meeting, members of the district’s board of trustees said that three of the 28 proposals will be seriously considered. They are:

* Transferring about 275 children in the Valencia Summit neighborhood to Stevenson Ranch because they are closest to the new school. This is the simplest plan, according to McGrath, although some minor modifications may be needed to accommodate school scheduling.

* Transferring students currently in the Lakeshore and Fairways neighborhoods from Meadows Elementary School to the new school, and adjusting the boundaries of some nearby neighborhoods to make up for the loss at Meadows. McGrath said this is “probably the least desirable alternative” because the financially strapped district would have to pay for an extra bus.

* Transporting students who already take the bus in East Newhall across town to Stevenson Ranch, while making several other neighborhood adjustments. McGrath said this plan makes “fair game” of any student taking a bus.

The effects of the boundary changes could be felt even by those not living in altered areas. All three proposals include a provision that would force students who took advantage of an open enrollment policy to attend Meadows Elementary School--one of the most acclaimed in the district--to return to the school closest to their house.

The only parent to address the board was Malcolm Snead, a Valencia resident with two elementary-age children, who criticized the district for opening a school in an area without enough students to fill it.


“I was very disappointed in the way this was done, with the lack of a coherent model,” he told the board.

A new school within the city limits would be best, agreed board President Gonzalo Freixes, but not financially feasible because the district would have had to pay for both the site and the school. He said the land for the Stevenson Ranch location and some additional funding was provided by Dale Poe Development Co., the housing project developer.

Board members also said that rapid growth is expected at Stevenson Ranch during the next several years, which will fill the school to capacity.

Two public meetings are scheduled during the next week to enable parents to respond to the proposals. The first is at 7 p.m. Monday at Wiley Canyon Elementary School, the second is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Valencia Valley Elementary School.