Learning Plaza future uncertain

first_imgPALMDALE – Palmdale Learning Plaza parents are expected to show up in force at a school board hearing Tuesday to discuss a proposed plan to change attendance boundaries districtwide to balance enrollment among campuses. Plaza parents are opposed to one option that would change the school from a school of choice, which draws students from throughout the district, to one that has boundaries. “Our concern is about having our school decimated or eliminated. The programs that we believe are an integral part of our children’s success are being directly threatened,” said parent Tom Lackey, a Palmdale city councilman and former member of the Palmdale School District board. “We feel there are other choices out there. Even though they would not be as easy to do, the pain that it would cause (to set boundaries) would be worth what they would preserve.” Changing the Palmdale Learning Plaza to a neighborhood school would affect about 900 of its students, school officials said. “We have overcrowding at Golden Poppy. Its enrollment has increased by 221 over a one-year period. That’s almost eight classrooms,” said Al Tsai, director of maintenance and operations. This year, the cafeteria stage and a band room are being used for classrooms at Golden Poppy, whose growth is being fueled by housing construction on Palmdale’s east side. Tsai said similar growth will be occurring in the central and western parts of the district where housing tracts are springing up. “We are trying to take a proactive approach to prevent what we did all this year for Golden Poppy,” Tsai said of the district’s proposed rezoning. “Instead of reacting, we are trying to reduce populations in schools in areas that we knew would be growing.” The last time the district made wholesale changes to attendance zones was in 2002-03, when it switched from a year-round to a traditional calendar. District officials intended to revise the boundaries two years ago, when three schools opened, but delayed the changes when enrollment leveled off. Golden Poppy, a K-8 campus, opened in 2004 near 60th Street East and Avenue R. It has more than 900 students, about 200 more than expected, because of housing development nearby. New students in seventh and eighth grades are being sent to Shadow Hills Intermediate, about a mile away. At Juniper Intermediate, enrollment has shrunk for two straight years. The district had expected more than 1,000 students this year, but just 900 enrolled. Yucca School has 750 students, compared with projections of 900. karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! About 40 Plaza parents showed up at the board meeting last month to protest the recommendation. At last week’s meeting, nearly 100 attended, many of them holding signs outside before the meeting started. The 920-student school is now a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus that offers a program that ties into the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program at local high schools, with a strong emphasis on the performing arts. The school moved into its new $22 million campus at Division Street and Rayburn Road in September 2005 after having been housed in portable buildings at different schools for about 14 years. The district announced in February it wanted to redraw attendance boundaries to balance enrollment among campuses. Some schools, such as Golden Poppy, are jam-packed with children, while classrooms sit empty at Juniper Intermediate and Yucca schools, in areas where student populations have been declining. last_img

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