New School Attendance Zone Changes
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New Attendance Zone
Parents are encouraged to review the elementary attendance zone map above to learn more about the new attendance zones. The new attendance zone results in a change for 30% of the district’s elementary students, with City Heights Elementary and Parkview Elementary having the greatest impact. Letters have been mailed to the families affected by the change, along with information on how families can request permission to stay at their current elementary school if they would like to do so. If you have questions regarding the new zone, please call the administration office at 479-474-7942.
City Heights, the district’s oldest K-5 school (built in 1963) will continue to serve students and adults as it is repurposed to serve as the primary Pre-K Center for the district, and also serve as an administration building.
With the transition, most of the students currently attending City Heights Elementary will stay together as they move to Parkview Elementary. Fortunately, these student will start school next year with familiar faces as all of City Heights faculty and staff have chosen move to Parkview next year.
Similarly, the majority of students attending Oliver Springs Elementary next year are currently attending Parkview Elementary. We are happy to report that all of Parkview faculty and staff have chosen to open the new building along with many of their current students.
The Van Buren School District has taken many steps forward in recent years and we are excited for what the future holds for our students. We would like to thank the many community members who have been involved in creating a vision for the district, especially the nearly 60 members who served on the 2011 Facilities Needs Assessment Study Committee that set in motion much of the facility improvements we see today. We would also like to thank the Community Attendance Zone Advisory Committee and the Van Buren School Board, along with school personnel for their support and assistance in completing re-zoning process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we adjusting the elementary attendance zone?
In 2011, the district hired an outside firm to conduct an extensive needs assessment focused on improving school facilities and planning for the future. Over the course of several weeks, committees comprised of nearly 60 school officials and community members completed a comprehensive evaluation and made recommendations related to short and long range plans for the school and community. It was determined that adding an additional elementary school north of Interstate 40 was needed to accommodate future residential growth in the area. In 2015, the district finalized plans for the new elementary school and requested $5.3 million dollars in Partnership Funds from the state of Arkansas. Soon after the project was approved and funds were provided, VBSD began constructing Oliver Springs Elementary. With the opening of the district’s newest elementary school, it is necessary to redraw attendance boundaries.
What is considered when revising boundary lines?
Below are some of the factors that were taken into consideration when drawing the proposed attendance zones:
1. Feasibility based on overall school capacity
2. Natural boundaries and physical barriers
3. Neighborhood population
4. Potential growth
5. Demographic data to include socioeconomic status
6. Preservation of neighborhood identities when practical
7. Transportation of students
Why isn’t City Heights on the attendance zone map?
In addition to building a new elementary school on the north side of I-40, another recommendation from the 2011 study was to repurpose City Height Elementary, the district’s oldest dedicated K-5 campus (built in 1963). City Heights will continue to serve students and adults as it transitions to become VBSD’s primary Pre-K campus and administration office.
Will it be possible to continue to attend our current school if we are zoned for a new school?
Yes, the Van Buren School District policy allows students to apply for transfer to another school when enrollment numbers allow under a program called Area Exceptions. Families assigned to new campuses will receive information regarding this policy and will have an opportunity to submit a request to remain at their current campus. However, parents who are approved to enroll in a school outside their zoned area are required to provide transportation for their child.
What if we are currently attending a school under a previously approved Area Exception request?
Our current area exception policy allows a student to remain at an approved campus as long as enrollment numbers remain at or below standards regarding capacity. More information will be provided on an individual basis for any student required to return to their zoned school due to a building exceeding capacity.
What if we are living outside the district but attending through School Choice, will we be able to stay at our current campus?
Students living in other school districts who are attending VBSD under school choice will remain at their current campus unless student enrollment numbers exceed building capacity. More information will be provided on an individual basis for any student who may be assigned to a new campus due to their current campus exceeding capacity.
If my child is zoned for a new campus, when will we be notified?
After the new zone has been formally selected, which could be as early as mid-January or as late as mid-February, the district will send letters to all families impacted. The letter will inform parents of the change in the attendance zone and will provide details regarding their new school.
Will students zoned for new schools have an opportunity to visit the school before the end of this school year?
Yes, the district is committed to providing a smooth transition for families zoned for new schools. Each school will host a meet and greet opportunity for families prior to the end of the school year.
Are the two middle school zones impacted?
No, we currently have an even balance of students in our established middle school zones. Therefore, there will be no changes to the zones of Butterfield Trail Middle School and Northridge Middle School.
How where the FAQ questions selected?
The district formed an Attendance Zone Advisory Committee, which included parents representing each elementary school, along with school and city officials to review the proposed zone options and help identify potential questions parents may have regarding the new attendance zone options.