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Citizens request school director district review

Boundary lines in the Snoqualmie Valley School District are drawn, and will take effect in January. In February, they might have to change, depending on the outcome of a legal review of the new district map.

The judicial review, requested by Laurie Gibbs, Carolyn Simpson, and a long list of other Snoqualmie residents, will consider how well the school district met the state requirements for realigning school board director districts when it adopted its new map May 26. However, the review will not take place until February, 2012, and existing district boundaries will stand until then.

For the citizens requesting the review, the issue is about school board representation for the city of Snoqualmie.

"Yes, there are a huge group of people who are upset about the redistricting," said Gibbs.

Because of the explosive growth on Snoqualmie Ridge in the past 10 years, many residents felt the city should have its own seat on the board, and said so at two public hearings the district held on its proposed realignments. Based on that feedback and its own lengthy discussion, the school board rejected the initial proposal from its demographer, and requested a new version that kept more of the Snoqualmie communities intact.

Gibbs and Simpson also presented a proposal, called the "Citizens Plan" for the board's consideration. They felt their map more closely matched state redistricting requirements for districts of relatively equal population and respect for natural boundaries and existing communities of common interest.

The version adopted by the board does not move boundary lines in a way that would unseat incumbent board members, while the citizens plan did. Supporters of the citizens plan opposed the board's decision because they felt it delayed Snoqualmie's opportunity to have its own seat on the board for another election cycle. School District spokeswoman Carolyn Malcolm said the district was disappointed that citizens had requested the review.

"We went through a very deliberate, thorough process," she said, adding that the board specifically wanted it to happen early enough in the year to allow potential school board candidates to file in their correct director districts by the June candidate filing deadline. The state deadline for school district realignment is September.

Craig Husa, the board member elected from the district that includes Snoqualmie Ridge, is up for re-election this year. Carolyn Simpson has also filed for the position.

All district voters can vote for all school board members, regardless of where they live.

 

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