VISTA — Ahead of the pending consolidation of Beaumont Elementary and Rancho Minerva Middle schools at the end of the academic year, the Vista Unified School District has adjusted attendance boundaries to accommodate the students who will be displaced.
Vista Unified leaders agreed to close the two schools in June, citing dropping enrollment throughout the district. The Rancho Minerva site will be made into the new location of Vista Innovation and Design Academy (VIDA), and the Beaumont site will be used as a swing site for students during the Bobier Elementary rebuild before being closed for good.
The district board of education reviewed several boundary adjustment options over the past month, ranging from minor tweaks to the boundaries of neighboring schools to a major districtwide overhaul of attendance areas.
At its Dec. 12 meeting, the board agreed to two separate attendance boundary plans to go into effect for the 2024-25 school year.
“Tonight is a momentous night,” said Superintendent Matthew Doyle, noting that the board’s decision would allow the district to give Beaumont and Rancho Minerva families a better idea of their options for next year.
Current Beaumont and Rancho Minerva families will receive letters from the district in the coming weeks identifying their new neighborhood school placement, the district said.
The closure of Rancho Minerva will leave the district with just two neighborhood middle schools — Roosevelt and Madison. The boundaries for the two middle schools were adjusted to match the existing attendance areas drawn for the district’s two comprehensive high schools.
The Roosevelt Middle boundary will now match that of Vista High School (northern Vista, Oceanside) and the Madison Middle boundary will match that of Rancho Buena Vista High School (central and southern Vista, Carlsbad).
For elementary schools, the process was a bit more complex. The board agreed to adjust the boundaries of Maryland, Foothill Oak, Bobier and Monte Vista elementary schools to absorb different portions of the current Beaumont attendance area.
According to a new district boundary map, Beaumont families who live east of Beaumont Drive and Coventry Road and south of Crescent Drive will now be in the Monte Vista Elementary attendance area.
The Foothill Oak attendance boundary will now extend to Townsite Drive and south to County Road 14, bordered to the east by Beaumont Drive, Coventry Road and Crescent Drive and to the west by County Road 13.
The Maryland boundary will extend slightly to the southeast to include the area directly north of Vista Magnet Middle School, and the Bobier boundary will be extended slightly south past North Citrus Avenue.
While these are the new boundaries for neighborhood schools, district leaders noted that all families still have the choice to ask for a transfer to a new school or pursue a magnet school by entering the district magnet lottery.
“We are a district of choice, where any parent will be able to go to any school and apply for space available,” said district COO Shawn Loescher.
Trustee Rosemary Smithfield asked about the logistics for Beaumont students who choose to go to Bobier since that school will temporarily move to the Beaumont site during its rebuild. Doyle said families could choose to do so, but that they would face a brief period of transition for the two years of the rebuild.
It also depends on whether there is enough space for all the students who may want to go to Bobier. The school rebuild is planned for around 650 students.
“If we have more parents at Beaumont that want to transfer to Bobier than we have space, that’s when we’ll have to have a conversation,” Doyle said.
Based on this year’s enrollment data, Maryland, Monte Vista and Foothill Oak are all well below their student capacity, with utilization ranging from 57% to 69%.
In November, the board also set new temporary policies around magnet schools in preparation for the consolidation process.
In the magnet school lottery for the 2024-25 school year, Beaumont students in transitional kindergarten through fourth grade and Rancho Minerva students in grades six and seven will be identified as priority groups.
In addition, the district will pause the current policy of filling open magnet school vacancies for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year. This would apply to VIDA, Casita Center, Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, and Vista Magnet Middle School.
Smithfield, who was the sole dissenter in the 4-1 vote, said giving priority to Beaumont and Rancho Minerva students in the magnet lottery seemed like “special treatment” and could be unfair to other families waiting to get into magnet schools.
Trustee Rena Marrocco argued that the two schools have highly disadvantaged communities that may not have the means to get to another school.
“I think [it’s] the least we could do for the disruption of these families,” Marrocco said.
More information about the school consolidation process and timeline is available online at vistausd.org/departments/osc/schoolconsolidation.