School district resets attendance boundaries for Saddleback, Santa Cruz

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MUSD will change the attendance boundaries for two elementary schools for the upcoming school year, meaning 292 students will change schools. Students will move out of Saddleback and Santa Cruz an into Butterfield and Maricopa elementary schools. [MUSD graphic]

The Maricopa Unified School District on Wednesday unanimously approved realignment of attendance boundaries for two of its six elementary schools.

The move will impact 292 students at Saddleback and Santa Cruz elementary schools, forcing them to move to new schools next year.

The district’s four largest elementary schools – Butterfield, Maricopa, Saddleback and Santa Cruz – each have a state School Facilities Board-allocated capacity of 956 students each in their 43 classrooms. This year, Saddleback has 744 students and Santa Cruz has 774. However, both are projected at well beyond capacity by the 2026 school year, with Santa Cruz projected at 1,177 students and Saddleback at 1,064.

Santa Rosa and Pima Butte have 603 and 506 students, respectively, in 24 and 21 classrooms.

That growth necessitated a realignment of attendance boundaries to redistribute student population among the four larger schools to avoid exceeding limits.

“As we anticipate seeing more growth in enrollment and are awaiting the final word on when we can begin construction on that seventh elementary school, what we want to do is manage growth across these four elementary schools,” Tracey Pastor, MUSD’s director of administrative services. “So, you can see if we make no changes, those schools would reach capacity before our other elementary schools, particularly Santa Cruz.”

The boundary changes affect 139 families living in the Homestead subdivision, which will have its attendance grid split in half. The 139 students currently at Santa Cruz who live west of Homestead and Centennial boulevards will be moved to Butterfield. Those who live east of Homestead and Centennial will remain at Santa Cruz.

Changes for Saddleback will affect residents of Pala Brea and Desert Cedars. MUSD will shift 153 students who live in two attendance grids to Maricopa Elementary beginning next school year.

“We believe this option moves sufficient students in the upcoming from Saddleback to MES,” Pastor said.