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Parents weigh in on final Snoqualmie Valley school boundary option

The Snoqualmie Valley School Board is set to select new boundaries this week defining where Valley elementary students attend school.

On Thursday, April 15, the district's Elementary Boundary Study Committee made its pick on the least-disruptive option for new school boundaries. The committee, made up of school staff, told the board that option C, which changes elementary schools for about 400 students in a dozen neighborhoods throughout the Valley, was the best choice.

The committee changed the option, allowing students in the Cascade Avenue and Cascade Loop neighborhoods of Snoqualmie Ridge, within walking distance of Cascade View Elementary School, to remain at that school instead of shifting to Snoqualmie Elementary School.

Option C moved fewer students compared to options A and F, also on the short list.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, at the district office to make the final decision. The boundary change takes effect this fall.

Criticism of option C

Several Snoqualmie Ridge families criticized the committee's recommendation, which would bus their children to under-capacity schools such as North Bend Elementary.

"It would be impossible for me to be in two places at once," said Deer Park parent Tricia Sinnott, who raised concerns about her ability to respond to emergencies.

Waiting for an elementary school bus means sacrificing attendance at middle school extracurricular activities, added mother Jennifer Stokes.

Stokes, who has lived in the Deer Park neighborhood for more than two years, said that her children will have to make new friends multiple times under Option C. Her children will attend school in different cities, making it harder to take part in activities.

Stokes believes if the district recommends that their children go to a city that they do not live in, the district should also change the middle school boundaries to reflect that. If the district decides that her children must attend elementary school in a city they do not live in, the district should also change middle school boundaries, too.

Other parents agreed with the choice.

Bandera resident Mark Norah's children will get to stay at CVES, as they are within the walking zone. Option C was the best option for his family, Norah said.

When the Norahs moved to Snoqualmie Ridge, they were given to understand that their children would go to that school, as it was close enough to walk to. Nora said his family has developed roots there.

"We've built a community her for five years," he said. "My kids have developed relationships within the community and at school and I wanted them close where I know I can get to them," Norah said.

Some Deer Park parents already bus their children to Snoqualmie Elementary School.

"We're already bused, so I don't mind busing," said Deer Park resident Carol Wang. "My son is a kindergartner at Snoqualmie Elementary, so he'll go to North Bend Elementary for first grade."

Committee chairman Jeff Hogan said this round of boundary redistricting does not solve capacity issues in Snoqualmie Valley elementary schools. Even with the change, the district must make another boundary change as soon as three years from now. Hogan said that the district will carefully monitor these changes to accommodate families.

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