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Fontana Unified School District: Overcrowding & New Schools

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Fontana Unified needed to review feeder and align boundaries for all its schools. Fast.

BACKGROUND

Fontana grew from a semi-rural steel town with areas of heavy industrial and commercial land use, to now include multi-family housing, older single family homes and more recent planned developments, becoming a mix of urban, suburban, and semi- rural areas. Fontana USD was established in 1923 and unified in 1956. Due to changing populations, growth, and the city’s bisection by two major freeways, the district includes some schools that are not located in the most convenient areas for the student population. Past recent development brought five years of explosive growth which necessitated four new elementary schools, one middle and one high school. The district has since experienced a slight decline in enrollment which has continued for the past 4 years.

CHALLENGE

There is severe overcrowding at Fontana High School. Property became available in a different location that would be ideal for a new high school. However, adding a new high school would require reconfiguring all of the high school boundaries. Also, a new elementary school is planned to open in 2012. It has been a number of years since the district reviewed its boundaries as a whole so they decided to review feeder patterns and align boundaries for all school levels. Yet the timeline was tight — with a new high school set to open in 2010, the district needed ample time to prepare parents, teachers and students for the boundary changes.

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SOLUTION

In October 2008, the district contracted with DecisionInsite to navigate the reconfiguration process. Upon receiving data from the district, DecisionInsite moved quickly to provide various boundary scenarios that were evaluated by the Boundary Review Committee, presented to the community for input, and ultimately presented to the Board. DecisionInsite helped the district present the information to board and community members in an understandable, helpful manner.

RESULT

The Board approved the boundary recommendations on March 18, 2009, giving the district more than one year to inform parents, teachers and students about upcoming changes.

“It would have been impossible to make our timeline without DecisionInsite. They came through every time. I was particularly impressed that their staff includes a former High School Principal, Superintendent, and Board Member. They understand local school districts. Having their outside expertise was invaluable.”

– Melinda A. Pure, Director of Facilities Planning
Design and Construction, Fontana Unified School District.