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Parents approve school boundary changes

Suzie Harrison

Students from Club Laguna, The Terraces and California Cove would

transfer from Top of the World Elementary School to El Morro Elementary

School under a proposed boundary change, Supt. Theresa Daem has



After months of meetings, hundreds of hours of research and hard work

with parents, faculty and other concerned residents, Daem made the

recommendation she will give to the Laguna Beach Unified School District


Board of Education on Tuesday.

All students in the district who live on the north side of El Toro

would be included in the change.

Initial responses to the proposal have been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re transferring kids from Top of the World to a beautiful new

school with a wonderful staff,” Daem said. “Every kid has a face and

every family a concern because it was a sensitive issue involving their

kids. El Morro is excited about having them.”


To help students get used to the new campus, the district is planning

planning programs and activities to unite the students with their new


“We just want to be fair and reduce some of the pressure,” Daem said.

More than five options were considered and the one chosen was changed

after residents emphasized that they do not want neighborhoods fractured.

“The families at Top of the World are ecstatic with Dr. Daem’s

recommendation,” said Top of the World parent Michelle Falkowski. “We’re


very happy she considered public opinion and appreciate the time and

consideration she took. She went beyond the normal realm.”

The boundary change was necessary because of the imbalance of

enrollment and students that has grown in recent years between Top of the

World’s overcrowding and the need for more students at El Morro. District

administrators have been seeking ways to find a balance between the two


“The Club Laguna and Aliso Viejo areas were the first areas of

consideration because transportation for these students is already

available at no additional cost to the district,” Daem said.

She explained that adjusting the arbitrary street lines within the

city of Laguna Beach was discarded because of complications with busing

and fracturing neighborhoods.

Also, just moving lines did not generate large enough groups of

students to reduce the numbers of classrooms used at Top of the World,

she said.

“Public input and realistic district needs were used to make this

final recommendation,” Daem said. “While change is difficult and we

emphatically regret any negative impacts on any children or their

families, these students are being moved to a beautiful school with

wonderful teachers, support staff, and parents -- one that has room and

that has just completed a $10-million remodel project.

“We are committed to providing these children, as we do all district

children, with the best possible education,” Daem said.