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District plans new elementary school boundaries

SNOQUALMIE - About 490 elementary students may have to attend a different school next fall.

The Snoqualmie Valley Schools Attendance Boundary Committee is favoring one of six options for equally distributing students among the district's elementary schools, including the new Cascade View Elementary, on Snoqualmie Ridge at the intersection of Center Boulevard and Southeast Ridge Street, that's set to open next fall.

The ever-growing Snoqualmie Valley School District needs to adjust boundaries to populate the new elementary school and alleviate overcrowding at the existing elementary schools.

Under the option most likely to be chosen, option 2a, some 291 Snoqualmie Elementary students living in the Snoqualmie Ridge area northwest of Snoqualmie Parkway would have to attend Cascade View and 54 of those living southeast of the Snoqualmie Parkway would also have to attend Cascade View.

Of the North Bend Elementary students living in neighborhoods between Snoqualmie and North Bend along State Route 202, Boalch Avenue Southeast and North Bend Way, Northwest 14th Street, Northwest Eighth Street and 394th Place Southeast, 13 would have to move from North Bend Elementary to Snoqualmie Elementary.

Of the North Bend Elementary students living in neighborhoods on 420th Avenue Southeast, 428th Avenue Southeast, in the Circle River area and in the area roughly north of Southeast 108th Street, just beyond the North Bend city limits, 28 would have to attend Snoqualmie Middle School.

Finally, 104 North Bend Elementary students living in neighborhoods along Ribary Way, southwest of Interstate-90 from the entrance to the Uplands to Rock Creek Ridge Apartments, Forester Woods and Harmon Heights neighborhoods, would also have to move to Snoqualmie Elementary School.

The 12-person committee, consisting of two parents from each elementary school and four district personnel, identified 33 zones or neighborhoods in the school district and worked with them to make sure a good mix of students from various locations and demographics were attending each school.

Jeff Hogan, director of instructional technology for the district, presented this option at the Jan. 13 school board meeting. All six options were aired out in two public meetings for parents during December. Option 2a was met with some grumbling from parents at last week's presentation, though Hogan assured them it may be the best way.

"Anytime a committee has to recommend a change to the board, I know it has to interrupt families in some way," Hogan said. "But it's also a way to help students prepare for the day to day changes of the world we live in."

The committee considered the following criteria set forth by the school board when planning the boundary options: minimize disruption of students' established learning programs; maintain established neighborhood groupings; keep siblings in same elementary school; adjust class loads to available space; coordinate transportation routes with attendance areas; support diverse student populations and maintain fiscal responsibility.

Committee member and North Bend Elementary parent Lynn Wunder said all six options they considered met the criteria set forth by the board, but option 2a affected the least number of students.

"One of the criteria was to make sure all the schools have numbers they can operate with, North Bend is over crowded and Snoqualmie Elementary would have been very under enrolled without adding students from somewhere else."

Numbers at Fall City Elementary and Opstad Elementary were stable, the committee reported.

There will be a public hearing on the decision at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, at Snoqualmie Middle School, 9200 Railroad Ave. S.E. Following the hearing, which will allow for public comment, the school board will decide which option to adopt, if any.

* More boundary information, including details on the other five options, is available online at www.snoqualmie.k12.wa.us and feedback forms can be submitted electronically.

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