By ESTHER COVINGTO
Provo School District’s new middle school is ready to open its doors for the 1996-97 school year, even amid boundary disputes.
Centennial Middle School, located at 2320 N. Canyon Road, was built by the district to lessen the congestion in the district’s two other middle schools, Dixon and Farrer. George Bayles, principal of Centennial, said the school will have approximately 700 students.
“The smaller numbers will decrease truancy and behavior problems. Because there will be less students in each class, students will have more opportunities,” Bayles said.
Centennial’s students will come from Edgemont, Maeser, Provost and Rock Canyon Elementary Schools, as chosen by a 45-member boundary committee.
“The boundaries have been the biggest problem we’ve encountered with the school. Many parents (from other elementary schools) want their children to go to Centennial. Some have even threatened a lawsuit,” Bayles said.
Parents of students from Canyon Crest Elementary School have threatened the school district with a lawsuit.
“Some Canyon Crest parents are upset because their students will be bused past Centennial to Farrer. I understand why they think this is illogical, but it had to be done,” Bayles said.
According to the boundary proposal submitted by the committee, only four elementary schools could go to the new middle school. Of the five nearest the middle school, the committee had to choose one to remain at Farrer. “Any of the schools would have to be bused past Centennial to Farrer,” Bayles said.
Bayles said the district has tried to accommodate those parents who want their children at Centennial.
“Because of Utah’s School Choice law, parents (who do not live in the boundaries) can submit applications. We had 180 applications from parents and we accepted 95 of them,” Bayles said. The district accepted 69 of the applications from Canyon Crest parents.
“In many respects, the kids have been forgotten in this. Parents are so adamant to get their kids in the new school, they don’t realize their children don’t want to be at Centennial. Kids just want to be with their friends,” Bayles said.
Bayles said these parents are good people who care about kids. “They have just overlooked what is in the kids’ best interest,” he said.
Bayles said Centennial’s goal is to provide a quality education for kids and to be a united family. The staff consists of a combination of teachers from Dixon, Farrer and new staff hired by the district. Teachers can set up their classrooms July 1. Centennial Middle School will officially open Aug. 26