Pocatello-Chubbuck dumps open enrollment, approves boundaries

POCATELLO — The Pocatello-Chubbuck School District’s board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to ditch its decades-old open enrollment policy and decided to approve new middle school boundaries.

Trustees tabled the district’s much-anticipated high school boundary change for at least another week.

New middle school boundaries affect students in four major areas:

  1. Hawthorne Middle School students west of Philbin Road and south of Reservation Road will now go to Irving Middle School.
  2. Alameda Middle School students west of Yellowstone Highway will now go to Hawthorne Middle School.
  3. Hawthorne Middle School students north of Ellis Road and East of the Yellowstone Highway will now go to Alameda Middle School.
  4. Irving Middle School students south of Swisher Street and west of Interstate 15 will now go to Franklin Middle School.

Another small swath of land southwest of 18th Street in Franklin Middle School’s boundaries was also given to Irving Middle School. (Click here and scroll to page 11 for a map of these changes.)

Administrators briefly discussed updates to a previous high school boundary-change proposal, but held off on a vote, citing the need for more public feedback. This new proposal would move a portion of Highland High School students living north of Pocatello Creek and south of Summit Drive into Century High School’s boundaries. It would also keep students living west of Bannock Highway and north of Gibson Jack Road in Pocatello High School’s boundaries, instead of moving them to Century.

District spokeswoman Shelley Allen said school administrators will upload a map detailing these affected areas to the district’s website by Thursday at 8 a.m., with a link for public feedback.

Wednesday’s changes are effective for next school year. Though the board didn’t adopt any new high school boundaries, they did add a few exceptions for coaches and students:

  • Coaches: Children of paid varsity coaches who were employed by the district as of Sep. 1, 2017 may attend their parent’s high school; children of head varsity coaches may attend their parent’s high school.
  • Students: Current students in grades 9-11 can continue attending the high school of their choice. For one year, eighth graders with siblings attending a high school outside their boundary may attend the same school. For one year, current sixth and seventh graders can choose to stay in their current middle school, regardless of their new boundaries.

The board had previously considered an exception for children of teachers in the district, but decided against it.

Long-running enrollment and socioeconomic disparities among the district’s three high schools have fueled calls to both end the district’s open-enrollment policy and redraw district boundaries.

Allen said patrons should also check the district’s webpage Thursday for the date and time of next week’s meeting.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

Devin was formerly a senior reporter and editor for Idaho Education News and now works for INL in communications.

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