School supply lists are out and a little anxiety is creeping into lives as the anticipation of a new school year looms with an Aug. 28 start.

With a new facility about the open, in Burley, there are many questions circulating concerning the move of Cassia County’s Mountain View Elementary students to John V Evans Elementary. The first bit of information is that John V Evans will indeed be ready and open for school 2017-2018 school year. The big move took place on Aug. 14 and the community was invited to participate and help. Two local scouts organized a moving party as part of their Eagle Scout project and Principal Dustin Heath offered a barbequed lunch for volunteers. Teachers organized their classroom materials and boxes were transported to Evans Elementary. The truck loading process started at 9 a.m. and Trucks were unloaded at the new school after lunch.

Students and faculty of Mountain View will be housed in John Evans while a remodel takes place at Mountain View. The school will maintain the same grades, kindergarten through third, and the website for Mountain View will be maintained as such.

While we don’t intend for this transition to be confusing there are bound to be questions. Parents of students at Mountain View need to consider Evans Elementary as the temporary home of Mountain View students until a full realignment occurs. It’s a temporary relocation of the existing school.

Boundary realignment and student distribution is being investigated and will be studied by the School Board prior to any final decision or public announcements. An initial committee review of attendance zones took place in the Spring and further steps will take place in the coming months. A full boundary realignment and kindergarten to sixth grade configuration is anticipated for the 2018-2019 school year.

The ability of having four elementary schools helps solve one overcrowding issue in Burley. There are over 2000 K-6 students in Burley, which is 39 percent of the total districtwide enrollment. The need for this additional elementary school is being validated as enrollment continues to grow. Prior to the final boundary lines being drawn and school zones being set, other considerations must be studied. These conversations are taking place. One of the issues that came as a result of the bond shortages was the inability to make improvements at the existing schools. Reports of needs at Burley elementary schools and other Burley schools, as well as other district schools, take place at monthly school board meetings.

There is still work to do and decisions to be made in the coming year. Cassia School Trustees are committed to having public conversations and involvement as they work towards finding appropriate decisions and solutions to a growing school district. With any other school year, we work to provide a great start to the coming year.

Debbie Critchfield, of Oakley, is a former member and chairman of the Cassia County School Board and currently serves as District Communications Officer, a member of the Cassia County Republican Central Committee and is an active education volunteer who served on the state technology task force.

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