ST. GEORGE — Coral Cliffs Elementary School would close and its students would attend a different school if a Washington County School District proposal is approved.

Washington County School District Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Nate Esplin discusses boundary changes and the closure of Coral Cliffs Elementary, St. George, Utah, Oct. 30. 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

Parents recently received a letter from the district informing them of the possible change, which is being prompted by a decrease in student numbers.

“The enrollment has continued to decline in that area,” Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Nate Esplin told the school board Oct. 30. “It is dropping lower than we expected.”

The 115-120 students at Coral Cliffs would be redistributed to either Paradise Canyon or Red Mountain elementary schools depending on their residence address relative to Dixie Downs Road.

The Coral Cliffs students on the east side of Dixie Downs Road would be moved to Paradise Canyon while the ones on the west side would be moved to Red Mountain.

The district’s letter to parents included the following:

“This proposed change will make all of the local elementary schools more efficient, and the District will use the educational resources at Coral Cliffs for our growing special education student population currently enrolled at Post High.”

There will be a public meeting about the Coral Cliffs closure proposal Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at Coral Cliffs Elementary located at 2040 West 2000 North in St. George.

The next board meeting with open time for public comment is Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. at 121 West Tabernacle Street.

Esplin said both Red Mountain and Paradise Canyon have experienced a decrease in enrollment by 100-120 students.

Board member Craig Seegmiller said this is a concern going back about 15 years, and the district had experts predict growth for the area of Santa Clara and Ivins.

“They (the experts) were wrong,” he said. “All the growth went to the Fields (Washington Fields). They were just wrong.”

The proposal involves moving Post High School operations into Coral Cliffs, as the adult alternative education program has outgrown its current spot at 872 South 100 East by Dixie High School and continues to grow.

Coral Cliffs Elementary students’ parents and staff members listen to a discussion on boundary changes and the closure of Coral Cliffs Elementary, St. George, Utah, Oct. 30. 2023 | Photo by Nick Yamashita, St. George News

“So we are really early in this phase of this proposal,” Esplin said. “There is a process we have to go through before anything can done.”

The Professional Development Center at Coral Cliffs would remain.

All board members expressed concern about the school closure’s effects on current students and faculty. About 20 parents and five staff members from Coral Cliffs Elementary were in attendance, but public comment was not permitted since at this particular meeting.

If approved, the proposals would be enacted for the 2024-25 academic year.

For the map of the boundary changes for Coral Cliffs, Paradise Canyon and Red Mountain, click here.

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