Updating School Boundaries with a Data-Driven and Consensus-Based Approach
Client: Central Valley School District
Location: Spokane Valley, Washington
When Central Valley School District was experiencing increasing student enrollment, along with unexpected shifts in student enrollment due to residential growth, district leaders realized it was time for a boundary review.
To support balancing facility capacities to accommodate current and future changes, FLO Analytics spearheaded a complete review of existing district boundaries. Since school choice can be a hot-button issue for many communities, our consensus-based approach was effective in keeping both the district and the general public well informed and engaged throughout the boundary review.
We began the update process by leading a quantitative assessment of the District’s student enrollment trends and boundaries, performing a land use analysis to determine population growth patterns, and soliciting input from the community through a survey. We used the combination of data and community input to develop a springboard proposal–-a starting point for re-mapping boundaries that is based on a set of values, core principles and framework recommendations that ensure all District and community needs are met during the boundary review process.
The next phase of the process was to assemble a weekly working group, or committee comprised of District leadership and engaged parents, to take the springboard proposal and make adjustments based on the community’s needs. During the weekly meetings, FLO’s enrollment forecast results were referenced to ensure boundary changes had a lasting impact, while web-map technology was used to generate on-the-fly scenarios for particular neighborhoods and regions. Demographic statistics were also made available to ensure that boundary adjustments were fair and equitable. The general public was included in the boundary review process via two Open Houses, which served as forums for parents and community members to supply their input to the committee.
With FLO’s support, the committee had critical information at its fingertips each week, which was used to make informed, data-driven decisions that guided boundary revisions. After ten weeks of review, committee arrived at an optimal set of new attendance area boundaries that upheld the District and community’s core values and principles. The final recommendation was presented to the School Board, which passed the new boundaries, satisfied that the review process was successful in its community-driven approach.
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