A major realignment of attendance boundaries for nine of the 12 elementary and middle schools in the East Whittier City School District has been recommended by a task force studying enrollment in the school system.
In recent years, a combination of declining enrollment in some schools and unexpected growth in others has left some crowded and others half-empty.
The 23-member task force considered closing schools and realigning grades to balance district enrollment, but finally opted to redraw attendance boundaries. Of the three options, Supt. Gary Mills said boundary changes would create the "least disruption in the long run."
The proposal calls for boundary changes at the following campuses: Ceres, Evergreen, Laurel, Mulberry, Ocean View and Orchard Dale (all elementary schools), and East Whittier, Granada and Hillview (middle schools). About 250 students would be affected by the new boundaries, which would go into effect in the fall.
By the end of the decade, Mills estimates an additional 600 to 700 students will have entered the district, which now has 6,372 students. While classrooms at some schools are overcrowded, Mills said 30% to 50% of the buildings at other campuses are empty.
Officials will explain the task force's recommendations at three 7 p.m. meetings at the district's middle schools: East Whittier on April 22, Granada on April 29 and Hillview on April 30.
Trustees will decide whether to adopt the proposal at a May 6 meeting at district headquarters.
Teachers in the East Whittier City School District will receive a pay increase of nearly 16% over the next three years under terms of a new contract ratified Tuesday by the board of education.
Specifics of the contract, which is retroactive to last September, were announced at a special meeting, ending a yearlong dispute between district officials and about 250 certificated personnel at 12 schools. The new pact also includes improved health benefits and a change in coverage to a new dental carrier, California Dental Service, sought by the teachers' union.
Teachers will receive an 8.56% raise this year, 4% of which will come from state money, which was given to all districts in California to compensate for lengthening the school day and year.
In the final two years of the pact, teachers will be guaranteed at least a 3.5% raise each year. That figure could go higher if the state continues special funding to districts for longer school days and years, Supt. Gary Mills said.
The new contract also gives experienced teachers hired by the district more credit for years worked elsewhere. For salary purposes, the district in years past would only honor five years of work from a teacher, often resulting in a substantial pay cut for any longtime teacher moving into the district. Under the new contract, new teachers will be given credit for eight years worked.
Mills praised the multi-year contract, saying, "It's rare these days to get such an agreement. Rather than have to negotiate a new contact every year, we've now got a chance to do the kind of long-range financial planning that will keep this district healthy for some time."