Parents debate options for new Gilbert school - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Parents debate options for new Gilbert school

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Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2007 4:58 am

About 250 Spectrum Elementary School parents attended a meeting Wednesday night to give input on a new elementary school that’s being built to relieve crowding at Spectrum.

Gilbert Unified School District’s 28th elementary school will open in the fall with a capacity of 400 students.

District officials told parents the new school could be used as an early childhood learning center for preschool through first-grade students, or as a traditional academy focusing on basic subjects.

Another option would be to open the school as a regular elementary school, and the district has drawn up two boundary proposals to consider to accommodate that option.

Under the regular elementary plan, one boundary proposal would have the new school open with 294 students, leaving 967 at Spectrum. The other plan would put 563 students at the new school and 698 at Spectrum.

Both boundary maps would see Spectrum grow to more than 1,100 and the new school to more than 600. Both campuses would eventually have several portable buildings.

Parents liked the individual attention students would get at an early learning center and thought it was a good use of limited funds and resources.

Negative comments included having siblings at different schools, transportation issues, and “too many unknowns.”

Parents also liked the option of opening a regular elementary school that would open with fewer students.

Several parents thought a traditional academy was a good idea but would not solve overcrowding.

Blake Sacha, a Spectrum parent of third- and sixth-graders, said he is in favor of the early learning center.

“I think it has some great educational opportunities (and) more focus for students and teachers,” he said.

Information gathered at the meeting will be posted online at before March 27. The governing board is expected to make a decision at its meeting that night.

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