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Snoqualmie Valley board districts realigned according to school plan; 'Citizen Plan' backers disappointed

No changes were made to version two of the director district realignment proposal that the Snoqualmie Valley School Board unanimously approved May 26. The plan, presented at a May 18 public hearing, was adopted as-is, with little discussion and no public comment until after the vote.

Board President Dan Popp, in introducing the action, said that he appreciated the amount of work and cooperation put into the district realignment process by the community, and that his fellow directors all were committed to representing "100 percent of the students in this district." Popp also read a letter from absent director Scott Hodgins, in support of the district plan.

"The board's handling of complex and controversial issues has been dealt with care and respect for all stakeholders and affected parties, and our final decisions have been fair and reasonable," he read. The letter also stated that "any delay of a final decision would be inconsistent with our goal to complete our business in a timely and responsible manner."

Craig Husa concurred with the previous statements, and added that "the community input has been tremendously valuable through this process."

Members of the community in the audience, however, felt that they hadn't been heard.

"I'm disappointed," said Snoqualmie resident and Citizens' Plan committee member Laurie Gibbs. "I  thought there was going to be some modification made to this plan.... I do not believe that I could actually look at Snoqualmie, it being such a new community, without actually living there, and represent its best interests, I just don't. And there's really no seat on the board that does that."

Pam Fraser of Snoqualmie commented that "because of the growth in Snoqualmie, the entire school board had to be driven through Snoqualmie Ridge to understand the changes they were going to make..." She was extremely disappointed that the board didn't "make one little tweak, a change, that would allow Snoqualmie to have their seat now, rather than in three years."

North Bend resident Steven Kangas assured the board that "this issue is not going to die," because in his opinion, the district's plan violated several state and federal laws. Carolyn Simpson, Snoqualmie, said the citizen's plan committee had made several attempts to work with the board and compromise on the realignment.

Since the board's vote, members of the Citizen's Plan committee have contacted an attorney to review the plan, and are considering their next steps in regard to the realignment. It is likely, Gibbs said, that one or more committee members will request a judicial review of the plan adopted by the board.

Several people also spoke in support of the plan at the meeting, including Liz Piekarczyk, who'd recently moved to Snoqualmie Ridge from the Tolt Hill area.

"I'm very happy with the redistricting plan," she said. "As far as I know, none of my neighbors have a problem with it, none of the people I'm talking to have a problem with it."

The filing period for candidates is currently open, for those who plan to file by mail. Candidates can also apply in person or online. For more information, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/referenceresources/candidatefiling.aspx.

Three positions, Districts 2,3, and 5, are up for election in November in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. Contact the district office at (425) 831-8000 to find out which district you are in.

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