DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- Ashley Morrison says the Davis School District’s proposed boundary changes will force her two disabled children to be on a bus for three hours each day they go to school.
Her 17-year-old son Andrew and 15-year-old daughter Ashley have Friedreich’s ataxia, a progressive genetic disease that requires them to use wheelchairs to get around. The special education bus takes a longer time because the driver has to stop at each student’s home and help them get in and out of the bus.
The Davis School District’s latest proposed boundary map has moved all students in west Kaysville from going to Davis High School, which is three miles from their home, to attend Farmington High School, which is nine miles from their home.
“Three hours on a bus isn’t a great idea for any kid, let alone a special-ed kid who is already sick and doesn’t feel well, so it’s just a bad idea,” Morrison said.
Morrison started a Facebook page on October 27 to organize parents to fight the proposed changes. Two days later, more than 300 parents have signed up.
“The school district’s original proposal was a good proposal; it had children who lived near a school go to that school,” added Morrison. “Proximity should be the most important factor. It makes the most sense.”
The Davis School Board gave the district three goals in creating new boundaries when Farmington High School opens in 2018.
- Open the new high school with a sufficient number of students to make it viable.
- Maintain enrollment in the other high schools at a level that keeps them viable.
- Reduce enrollment at overcrowded high schools.
The school district website says the committee members working on the boundaries are trying to come up with the best solution, even though the three goals sometimes conflict with each other.
“Placing just Farmington students in the new school would mean it opens with less than 1,000 students, which is not a viable population for a school built with a student capacity of nearly 2,100," the website states. "Davis High is projected to be 900 students over capacity in five years. The preliminary proposal reduces Davis High’s projected enrollment by 550 students, bringing it closer to capacity. Students from Kaysville and Fruit Heights must be part of the boundary adjustment."
The new boundary map will have also have an impact on some students attending Layton, Viewmont, Bountiful and Woods Cross high schools.
Amber Budzynski also has two teens in the Davis School District and says the proposed boundary change increases their drive to school from two miles to nine miles. She also says the roads in the area are too narrow and are not safe for students who are driving or walking.
“The kids when they are coming and going from school, there’s a lot of areas where there are no sidewalks and they’re in the road,” Budzynski said. “It’s not a good idea.”
Morrison also think the roads are not developed to handle the traffic that would occur.
"Traffic makes all the difference,” she said. “You have 700 kids all coming from the same part of west Kaysville going to the same part of Farmington. You’re going to have lots of problems.”
The Davis School District is still receiving input and will have a public hearing at Layton High School on November 8. The Davis Board of Education is scheduled to make the final decision on December 5.
Additional information about the proposed boundary changes can be found online, here.