September 29, 2008

RRPS Boundary Changes in Works ; Forums To Be Held on Plans

By Elaine D. Briseo Journal Staff Writer

Rio Rancho middle schools are undergoing their first major boundary changes in a more than a decade.

The district will hold public forums on two proposed plans, beginning Wednesday. The change comes as the district plans to open its fourth middle school for the 2009-10 school year. The three existing middle schools are Eagle Ridge off Northern, Lincoln in the Western Hills area and Mountain View in the Enchanted Hills subdivision.

RRPS spokeswoman Kim Vesely said the last major middle school boundary shuffle was in 1996 when Eagle Ridge was opened and Mountain View was moved to its current home. Since then, there have been minor adjustments.

The committee drafting boundary options estimates that more than 1,000 students currently in grades five through seven will be shifted to a different middle school attendance zone.

Next year, one wing of Rio Rancho Mid-High, currently a school for the district's eighth- and ninthgrade students, will become a middle school. Ninth graders will attend high school. The district's second traditional high school, V. Sue Cleveland High School, is planned to open next August. The middle schools will then be for grades six through eight.

RRPS opened the Mid-High in 2002 in an effort to ease overcrowding at Rio Rancho High School and its three middle schools. The mid-high was built for 1,800 students and currently has an enrollment of more than 2,400. The mid-high may get a new name with its makeover.

The district recently formed a 30-person committee to recommend new middle school boundaries. The committee has come up with two possibilities that it will present to the public for input. It will take that input and could come up with more alternatives using suggestions from parents and community members at the forums.

Vesely said the committee plans to present all options to the RRPS board at its Oct. 13 meeting. The board has the final say on boundary changes.

The committee took a number of factors into consideration when drafting the attendance lines. They included current and anticipated enrollment, building capacity for each school, student safety, how far students will have to travel to school, and whether the integrity of neighborhoods is maintained by having all students from one neighborhood go to the same school. The committee also tried to send all the students from each elementary to the same middle school. It's a concept referred to as a pure-feeder system.

The committee outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Option 1, according to the committee, leaves each middle school room to grow. It also shortens the bus ride for some students who have a long ride.

A downside to the plan is that five elementary schools will feed into the Mid-High and three of the elementaries are not pure feeders.

Option 2 has a longer list of disadvantages than Option 1 and it also has fewer advantages than disadvantages.

One of the major advantages is that Option 2 preserves a purefeeder alignment for all the elementary schools. Also, no more than three elementary schools feed into one middle school.

One of the most apparent disadvantages of Option 2 is that Eagle Ridge is not physically located within its attendance boundaries. The means students who live near and around Eagle Ridge, some of whom could walk to school, would instead be bused to the Mid-High. The plan also leaves Mountain View over capacity, even before taking growth into consideration.

Under either option, the Mid-High would be larger than the other middle schools.

During the public forums, attendees will be split into smaller groups to review the proposed plans and come up with suggestions. Each group's ideas will be shared with the larger group.

Maps of the proposed boundaries can be viewed at

Boundary forums

Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rio Rancho Mid-High, 1600 40th. Parents and the community can come to the school at 6 p.m. and tour the building.

Thursday, 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Destiny Center, 4401 Northern.

Oct. 6, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Rio Rancho Mid-High, 1600 40th. Tours of the school will be provided at 6 p.m.

Can't make a meeting?

E-mail your comments to [email protected] or [email protected] A link to these e-mail addresses are available through the district's Web page,

Write to your local school or to the Rio Rancho Public Schools District Office, 500 Laser Rd. NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124. Please include the word "boundaries" on the envelope.

Fax your comments to your school or to 896-0662.

Fill out one of the comment forms available at all schools and at the district office.

Parents may also provide input through the parent representatives for their schools. These committee members may be contacted through the school office. Enrollment numbers 2009-10

Option 1

Eagle Ridge 801 Lincoln 835 Mid-High 1,153 Mountain View 773

Option 2

Eagle Ridge 727 Lincoln 783 Mid-High 1,109 Mountain View 933

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