NAPA VALLEY REGISTER
The lines are drawn for Napa and Vintage high school’s attendance boundaries, effective when American Canyon’s new high school opens in 2010.
The Napa Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees adopted what is known as Plan D at Thursday evening’s school board meeting, after public comments made by residents who live near McPherson Elementary School and members of Leadership Academy Youth Leaders in Action.
As dictated by Plan D, students living northeast of Redwood Road and West Pueblo Avenue — and the majority of those living east of Jefferson Street — will go to Vintage.
Students in south and west Napa will attend Napa High.
The decision comes on the heels of the district-appointed Program and Facilities Task Force considering more than 20 boundary options before recommending Plan D.
The boundaries are intended to balance the schools’ attendance and socio-economic status of the student bodies at Napa and Vintage.
Plan D will affect next year’s ninth-graders and today’s McPherson, Phillips, Pueblo Vista and Bel Aire elementary school students.
But residents of the McPherson neighborhood and LAYLA members have voiced concerns about the plan over the past few months.
Dane Poteet — who owns a home in the McPherson neighborhood — said he is unhappy with Plan D because it dictates that his children will attend Vintage.
Poteet told the board Thursday that the fact that they would be able to attend Napa High was a major factor in his family’s decision to buy their home in the McPherson neighborhood.
LAYLA members from Napa and Vintage also addressed the board with their concerns.
“We were originally against Plan D because it split up our neighborhood,” Ashley Feigel, a LAYLA member and Napa High senior told the board Thursday. “And now, our bigger concern is that academic achievement was not taken into consideration when the boundaries were drawn … The only two criteria that were used were enrollment numbers and (socioeconomic) status, which in this community closely corresponds to race.”
But NVUSD Trustee Jose Hurtado, a self-described “child of immigrants,” said the school board is ensuring that socio-economically disadvantaged students have the same educational opportunities as the more affluent.
“These decisions will be based on what we believe … will be educational equity and justice,” he said.
Like Hurtado, NVUSD Board President Tom Kensok said student body diversity is integral to the success of NVUSD.
“If we are a divided town, we have no future. … We’re not using race as a factor and we cannot use race as a factor (in district decisions),” he said.
In an effort to provide equal access to various school programs for all students, a statement from the school board to LAYLA members indicated that the board would consider offering what it called “program-based open enrollment.”
“(This) means students would be able to open enroll to Napa High or Vintage High to participate in an identified program unique to that school (for example, LAYLA or the Vintage Farm Program),” it said.
Starting in 2010, American Canyon’s ninth- and 10th-graders will enroll at the city’s new high school. Eleventh and 12th grades at the new school will be phased in over the next few years.