Opening day is still nearly two years away, but attendance boundaries for Merced's three high schools will need to be drawn, including those of the under-construction El Capitan High School in North Merced.
Merced Union High School District trustees Wednesday night conveyed some of their concerns to the newly formed El Capitan boundary advisory committee. It's a 12-member group composed of two parents each from Merced and Golden Valley high schools, teachers, community members and support staff.
Trustee Kurt Kollmann urged the committee to do the best it can to make sure student demographics are as balanced as closely as possible. He didn't like the idea of students who live near the Merced Airport being bused about five miles across town to El Capitan, passing by Merced High School along the way.
Michael Belluomini, the district's director of facilities planning, said El Capitan High School is being designed for 2,000 students but probably will have 1,700 to 1,800 students when it opens. Wishes for short travel distances may conflict with the need to maintain racial and ethnic balances among the three schools.
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Only 642 students live in the area north of Yosemite Avenue, Belluomini said, so there will have to be some travel. Some students will have to be taken from Merced and Golden Valley attendance areas. The committee is supposed to report its findings in January.
Belluomini said trustees also are exploring the possibility of making El Capitan High School a magnet school, or one that features a specialized curriculum and could draw students from throughout the district. There has been talk of having a sophisticated auto shop at El Capitan; Buhach Colony High School in Atwater has a growing engineering academy.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at
(209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.