For the second time in three years, new school boundaries are in
the offing for Morgan Hill public school students; this time, the
focus is on the secondary schools.
For the second time in three years, new school boundaries are in the offing for Morgan Hill public school students; this time, the focus is on the secondary schools.

The district last endured a boundary shift at the elementary level with the opening of Barrett Elementary for the 2001-2002 school year.

The next few months will be busy ones for Morgan Hill School District employees involved in planning for the opening of the new Sobrato High School, set for August 2004, and for parents and community members who are part of the various committees working on details including new school boundaries for the district and transitioning to a 9-12 high school population.

During Monday’s School Board meeting, trustees directed district staff to follow one of three options in completing the boundary recommendations to present to the board. The option trustees selected will focus the boundary committee primarily on the secondary boundaries, with a decision on these expected by November. The elementary decision will be made by January 2004, and the new boundaries would go into effect for the 2004-2005 school year.

The other options included: have all boundaries established for implementation in 2004-2005, elementary and secondary; or discuss only the secondary boundaries at this time, with a decision by November and an elementary decision by June 30, 2004 and implementation in 2005-2006.

“With the opening of Sobrato High ahead of us, I think the secondaries should be the priority,” Trustee Shellé Thomas said. “But I also think we should discuss if we’re talking about boundaries or programs … there should be some sort of three- to five-year plan.”

Because the new high school will not be completely finished when it opens in August 2004, because of budgetary constraints and because of a staff recommendation, the board is considering opening the new school with 9th and 10th graders only the first year, with some courses and programs only available at Live Oak High and some only available at Sobrato High.

Thomas said she strongly believes that the district should consider student choice if this is the case.

The boundary committee, composed of district administrators, district employees and representatives of the City of Morgan Hill, has been meeting since January. The public meetings were also attended by parents and community members. The committee will resume meeting, now that trustees have given a direction.

According to district officials, re-drawing the boundaries is necessary to balance enrollment, ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Trustees also heard Live Oak Principal Nancy Serigstad and Sobrato Principal Rich Knapp detail the process the district will follow for transitioning to a 9-12 high school system with the anticipated opening of Sobrato in fall 2004.

There are three parts of the process, they explained: an educational specifications committee, composed of parents, community members and district employees, which will research high schools, visit high schools and create guiding principles and evaluation criteria; the teacher leadership committee, composed of all interested teachers, with a similar mission to the education specifications committee; and a series of parent and community forums, open to all parents and community members.

The forums will be held at Martin Murphy Middle, Britton Middle and El Toro Elementary schools. The El Toro forum will be conducted in Spanish. During these forums, the work of the two committees will be presented, and parents and community members will have an opportunity to comment and ask question.

“I think this process is really inclusive,” Knapp said Thursday. “The district has really made an effort to involve as many people as possible in looking at where we need to go with this.”

Another component to the restructuring of the high school is the transitioning of the middle schools, which will go from a grades 7-8-9 population to a 7-8 configuration.

Assistant Superintendent Claudette Beaty said the process will follow along the lines of the high school process, except that there is a restructuring committee of the district’s secondary task force that has been working on research and compiling date for the middle schools.

[email protected]

Previous articleGreat performances, thin plot in Graduate
Next articleFrank Schalk


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here