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Schools reorganized in surprise move

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Moving schools to new regions or different classifications is nothing new.

Every four years the Utah High School Activities Association's board of trustees oversees realignment, which shuffles schools in order to account for growth, declining populations and the addition of new schools.

This year, however, the BOT decided to try something new.

"We challenged the five principals on the board of trustees to meet with the other principals who represent each region (on the executive committee) and come up with a recommendation for each classification," said UHSAA executive director Evan Excell. "They came up with the recommendation that is now posted on our Web site."

The BOT will hold hearings on the most recent proposal on Tuesday. Any school's administration can make a presentation as to why they should move into another region or classification. This is the last public hearing the BOT will hold on realignment before making the new regions final on June 10.

"They won't make any decisions at this hearing," said Excell. "They will make their final decisions on June 10 and there won't be any hearings after that."

The most significant changes came in 3A, 4A and 5A classifications as principals tried to deal with geography, rivalries and travel issues, just to name a few.

This year the number of students needed to push a school into 5A were 1500 and above. That moves former 4A schools like Roy (1607), West (1634), Cyprus (1659), Granger (1686), Cottonwood (1532) and Murray (1572) into the 5A classification. Most are expected to present reasons why they should move back to 4A on Tuesday.

The shift in numbers also creates uneven numbers of schools in some geographic areas. That's why principals chose to put Clearfield, Davis, Northridge and Viewmont in a North Central region with Murray and West.

American Fork (1776), Lone Peak (2060) and Pleasant Grove (1751) are the only Utah County schools in the 5A classification after two new schools open next year and the year after. Those three were put into a southern region with Bingham (2416), and Riverton (2774), as well as a new school expected to open in Herriman in 2010.

The numbers for 4A schools are 1000 to 1499, which put former 5A power, Skyline (1422) in 4A. Skyline and Olympus (1469) are the only Granite School District schools with 4A numbers. Both of those schools are in a region with East, Highland, Tooele and the soon-to-open Stansbury High School.

Other changes of note, Ogden (1070) will move to 4A and be in the northern 4A region with schools like Bountiful, Box Elder, Logan and Mountain Crest. Judge and Juan Diego will move to the eastern region of 3A and play against Union, Emery, Carbon, American Leadership. Currently Judge and Juan Diego are not even in the same region, but this alignment will mean they're the only two Salt Lake County schools in the 3A East region. Judge had asked to stay in a region with Morgan, Park City and Wasatch, but all of those schools will be in the northern region that plays against Grantsville, Ben Lomond and Bear River.

Juab (440) moves from 2A to 3A's central region, as does Richfield (450).

Excell said one of the biggest issues still unresolved is what the Washington County School District will do with its schools. There has been some talk that the district wants to redraw school boundaries to even out the population among it's schools. If they do that, It will put the soon-to-open Desert Hills, in 4A numbers with Dixie (1085), Pine View (1076) and Snow Canyon (1325). If they don't Desert Hills (837), Canyon View (788), Cedar (769) and Hurricane (905) will form a 3A south region.

"They won't make a final decision on that by the hearing on May 6, but they should have a final decision before June 10," Excell said of the Washington County School District.

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com