Change is bound to happen as school district grows

Record Editorial

The recent announcement by the Snoqualmie Valley School District on boundary changes has created a minor uproar in several affected neighborhoods. The district put together an advisory committee made up of community members and district staff to look at various scenarios. Questions arose about the makeup of the committee and the timing of the proposed moves of elementary students. Despite a committee’s best efforts, there were bound to be unhappy parents in any scenario.

Stepping back from the emotional objections, the district is right in looking at the least impact to kids and fiscal responsibility as priorities. We, as taxpayers, expect both these to be at the top of the list of reasons for any decision. Snoqualmie Valley School District is the largest in the state by area. Naturally, due to its size, bussing will be inevitable.

Parents may argue that the rest of the district is being impacted by the Snoqualmie Ridge development. Let’s quit using the argument regarding the Ridge. The development is here, people in that neighborhood are getting involved in the community and they live here for the same reasons the rest of us do. Beauty, tranquility, community and our schools come to mind.

Someone at the school board meeting commented that they would not have voted for the last levy if they had known about the boundary changes. My question would be, why would you want to impair your child’s educational opportunities because they have to go to a different school in the district? Is there some measurable difference in the schools of the district that the board is not aware of? Sure, there are challenges at each school, but I don’t know of any measurable differences between the schools.

A North Bend council member commented that he would have to think hard about a possible request for annexation of school property east of North Bend at a recent school board meeting. The property is targeted for a new middle school. I’m not quite sure what the point of the comment would have been, but it sounds like what would be considered a quasi-judicial process and may require that council member to recuse himself from any annexation discussions if his mind is already made up.

Another point to be made is this: there is always one constant, and that is change. The district will continue to grow and decisions about kids and resources will be something we will deal with for many years. It’s likely additional boundary changes will be made as the new middle school comes online. Some neighborhoods within the Valley will change demographically and may have reduced numbers of school-age children while others, such as Snoqualmie Ridge, will see a boom in the numbers of school-age children.

On another note, the district faced the news that Dave Humphrey, principal at Mount Si, will be retiring at the end of this school year. Dave has been on a retire-rehire stint at Mount Si for the past several years. His leadership has been instrumental in making the high school a great educational institution.

With this position open, the district needs to at least give candidates inside the district a shot. If the best candidate is from outside the district, so be it, but give your current administrators a chance first.

The high school will also be facing changes with the current remodel. It may be time to consider a full-time athletic director rather than the current combination of school administrator/athletic director. The new facilities will be used by numerous organizations around the Valley. Scheduling will become a bigger job at the same time students will begin taking full advantage of the opportunities the new facilities will provide.

It really is time to separate school administration from the athletic director’s position. Greg Hart, who has been in that position, has done a good job over the years but it is almost too much to ask one person, who is also performing the role of vice principal, to manage the vastness of facilities the school will offer next year.

Good luck to Dave in retirement as well as to Dick Giger, who is retiring as principal of North Bend Elementary.