Neighboring elementary schools in White City will merge

Starting this fall, White City Elementary and Mountain View Elementary schools will merge, redividing students by grade level between the two, neighboring campuses.

On Jan. 9, the Eagle Point School Board voted in favor of the merger and, later this spring, will hear recommendations for a new name, mascot and school color, said Ginny Walker, principal of White City Elementary and soon to be coprincipal of the new K-5 elementary school. Mountain View principal Karina Rizo and Walker will share the administrative duties of the new school.

This fall, kindergarten through second-grade students will attend classes on the White City Elementary campus, and third- through fifth-grade students will go to the Mountain View campus.

The two schools are separated by a playground that they share.

For many years, the two schools utilized different curriculum. However, new grading and Common Core standards pushed the schools to collaborate more.

"Currently, we are doing the exact same thing at two sites side-by-side," Walker said.

"There are no boundaries between the schools so it's confusing for families who come to know where they should enroll," she said.

The district strives to put incoming students at the school with the smallest class size for the child's grade, put also works to keep all the children from a family at one school, Walker explained.

Currently, 437 students are enrolled at White City Elementary and 315 students at Mountain View Elementary. Walker said that under the new school model she is predicting enrollment to be more balanced with 374 students at the kindergarten through second-grade site and 357 students at the third- through fifth-grade site.

The district announced earlier this year its intention to offer full-time kindergarten programs at six of its schools starting this fall. If the two elementary schools had continued to operate separately, both schools would have had to upgrade classrooms to accommodate that plan.

"We're adding full-day kindergarten to our schools so each of us need to hire additional people and find space for those classrooms," Walker said. "It put us in a position where we both were going to do some remodeling. By putting all the kinder classrooms together in one space, we only need to do some remodeling at one site."

School ends June 6, and June 9 is a scheduled teacher work day. The move will take place the weekend of June 10-11.

— Teresa Thomas

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