In support of the proposed Wichita school bond issue, USD 259 claims overcrowding. It may be true that some schools are overcrowded, but the district as a whole has quite a bit of capacity.
Wichita school district claims of overcrowding must be examined with caution. The article Do We Know if Enrollment Numbers Support Wichita School Bond Issue? describes how official school capacity figures published by USD 259 may be misleading.
Why can’t USD 259 nudge school boundaries away from overcrowded schools and towards schools that have capacity? It’s a good question. It might be difficult for the school district to do this, and it might have to adjust school boundaries every few years as populations change. The alternative, though, is also difficult: asking Wichitans to pay to build new schools or expand existing one.
The district makes this claim as to why adjusting school boundaries isn’t feasible: “There are a few schools in the district where limited classroom space exists, but they are not in the same part of the city as those schools which are overcrowded. Forced busing would need to be implemented to shift student enrollment, transportation costs would increase, and boundaries for schools all across Wichita would need to be changed due to the relationship between elementary and middle schools flowing into high school feeder patterns.” (Why changing boundaries won’t fix overcrowding)
What part of “nudging” do district officials not understand? Nudging means that a series of school boundaries are adjusted in small increments. It means that some children, instead of attending a school half a mile to the east of their home, might now attend a school half a mile to the west. Or maybe a mile to the west.
Nudging doesn’t require, and it doesn’t mean forced busing as the district claims. The district’s refusal to acknowledge this is disingenuous, at best.