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Durango School District discussing school boundary rezoning

The last quarter of the school year has begun, as have several important processes where community input is desired.

The district is discussing possible school boundary rezoning to address crowding and capacity issues at in-town schools, as well as making final plans around the budget and how the 2016 mill levy approved by voters will support it. We invite you to join us in one or both of our upcoming opportunities to provide input around these important topics.

Capacity issues have materialized at Riverview Elementary and Park Elementary for the past several years. While the district embraces choice, we have been forced to limit students who wish to attend these schools because of the growing populations within their established boundaries. I have recommended a few areas where rezoning will be considered by the Board of Education. While the district will not require any existing students to change schools, we will assign new students who enter these specific areas to attend a newly assigned school.

The areas considered for rezoning include:

Area north of Durango High School, west of the Animas River and east of Main Avenue, shifting to the Needham Elementary area.Area south of the Animas River and Colorado Highway 3 on U.S. Highway 160 to U.S. Highway 550 south moving from Park/Florida Mesa to Sunnyside Elementary School.Area west of County Road 302 and south of County Road 304 moving from Florida Mesa to Sunnyside Elementary.A meeting will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at the Escalante Middle School library to provide members of the community an opportunity to hear more about the proposed school boundary rezoning and provide input. Again, no current student will be required to change schools, but these boundary changes are expected to provide some capacity at both Riverview Elementary and Park Elementary while taking advantage of space available at both Needham and Sunnyside elementary schools.

Budget planning for the 2017-18 school year has begun. The district will benefit from the 2016 mill levy approved by voters, and it is developing a plan to invest these funds based on the parameters outlined in the ballot language. Currently, the proposed state budget that is working its way through the Legislature proposes an increase of roughly $185 per student, or an approximate 2 percent increase in funding for K-12 students. This budget, along with any School Finance Act adjustments, will likely not be final until early May.

The district will be working to advance employees who were frozen on the salary schedule this past year, while re-investing in critical programs lost during the recession, which are necessary to support students’ college and career pathway preparation. Increased professional development is slated for next year to support teachers in closing the achievement gaps and maximizing student learning for all students.

Members of the community are encouraged to attend a public budget session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at Miller Middle School to provide feedback on budget planning. The Board of Education will be asked to approve a budget in June for the 2017-18 school year.

Community input is welcomed at these events as well as directly to me.

Email Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger at DSnowberger@durango.k12.co.us.