Clovis Unified experiences eastern growth spurt

Clovis Unified School District’s headquarters on the southeast corner of Herndon and Sunnyside avenues. (Photo by Daniel Leon/Clovis Roundup)

As the city of Clovis continues to grow in population, each new school year, the school district also grows in the number of students it serves.

Overall, the district’s highly sophisticated and scientific algorithm was accurate in this years projected influx of 450 new students. The projections take into account new developments within the district, as well as factors like birth rates and migration, according to CUSD Communications Director Kelly Avants.

Despite this accuracy in sheer numbers, the algorithm can’t predict how many of the students will be in a specific grade, meaning occasionally some grades see a greater number of students year to year than others and those in elementary grades can sometimes need to be bused to another school outside their neighborhood. This cap and bus system is common, Avants said, and compared to previous years, relatively few students needed to be bused to a different campus.

Altogether, Avants reported that only 16 students had to be bused in the Clovis North area, only six in the Buchanan area, about 12 in the Clovis High area and none in the Clovis West area. The Clovis East area, however, needed to bus 32 students this year in light of the new homes being built in that part of the district, most notably the Loma Vista development.

“The student yields we have calculated by area,” Avants explained. “For Clovis East, we are averaging 0.4388 K-6 students per household or 43 students per 100 homes. That number is 0.1200 or 12 per 100 for 7-8 grades and 0.1752 or 18 per 100 homes for grades 9-12. That equates to a total yield of 0.7340 or 73 students per 100 homes in the CEHS area—the largest of any of our target areas.”

Dedicated in particular to keeping class sizes in grades TK-3 low at a maximum at 27 students per classroom, the influx has created a need to cap and bus students to other elementary campuses. Kindergarten classes specifically saw a larger influx than anticipated in the Clovis East area. When there is a particularly large batch of students, Avants said the district does consider hiring additional staff if the campus allows.

“If there are only a few students over in a grade level, they are capped and bussed to a different school because it would be cost prohibitive for the district and at times there are no more classrooms available, but we also consider additional growth hiring of teacher if there is a significant unexpected growth in a grade that would need to be capped and bused,” Avants said. “We actually were able to complete almost all of our balancing by the middle of the first week of school.”

Corrine Folmer, the Assistant Superintendent for the Clovis East area, said the district anticipates continued growth in the area and will likely open a new elementary school in the area within three to five years.

“We do expect our growth to continue over the next few years as the planned developments continue to build out,” Folmer said. “If our growth continues, we can expect a new school in the next three to five years. In the last four years, the Clovis East area has had a student growth of about 1,600 new students. Our areas largest schools are Fancher Creek Elementary and Oraze Elementary.”

Folmer said she is excited by the growth and what it means for the Clovis East area and the district as a whole.

“The growth in our student enrollment has allowed for the hiring of new teachers, which has allowed us to add quality educators to our already dedicated teaching staff,” Folmer said. “It has been a joy to walk through the classrooms at each of the Clovis East area schools and see the many new faces participating in the learning process that is occurring daily.”