This past week, the Snoqualmie Valley School District Facilities Task Force presented its final recommendations to the school board in response to our charge to submit a list of prioritized recommendations for new construction projects, modernization projects and maintenance and repair of existing school district facilities.
The task force was formed last March to address the rapid growth in our student population. Quite simply – the kids are coming. After several months of diligent work, the task force stands in unison behind our final recommendations and is proud of the work we have done. The torch has now been passed to the school board and the community.
Next week, on Sept. 28, the school board will hold a public hearing to take comments from the community regarding the recommendations of the task force. Whether you have children enrolled or not in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, this topic is of dire importance to all of us. Strong schools create strong communities. For the school board, consideration of all public comments is important. We hope you will attend.
As this is the last in our bi-weekly series of guest columns, we thought it would be fitting to share the comments and perspective of a community member. Jennifer Rubalcava has paid close attention to the work of the task force. She is an active community member and a parent who shares concerns that have been echoed across the Valley. Increased enrollment at schools in the Fall City, North Bend and Snoqualmie communities has captured the attention of parents. Now is the time to make sure we keep sight of our priorities as a community – we must do what’s best for the kids.
In her own words, here is what Jennifer had to say:
“My name is Jennifer Rubalcava. I am the mother of two boys at Cascade View Elementary School. My older son is in third grade and my younger son just started kindergarten. My family moved to Snoqualmie Ridge six years ago. We have seen the enormous growth of the Ridge neighborhood from nearly the beginning. Through my experiences all over the Valley, I have encountered countless parents who are committed to providing a thriving academic environment for their children. The Facilities Task Force is helping to ensure that we can continue to have a district that meets the needs of the families that live within its boundaries.
“I have children in a heavily enrolled school. If any residents without children wonder if the enormous growth statistics are being overstated, I would say no. Last year, Cascade View Elementary School opened its doors already full. This year, four portable classrooms were added to the year-old school and the number of students per classroom has increased.
“Children who live within the boundaries of Snoqualmie Ridge Phase II are now required to enroll at Snoqualmie Elementary School rather than attending the ‘neighborhood school.’ It’s just a short matter of time before Snoqualmie Elementary returns to being completely full, as well. All these children will move up through the school system as time moves on, and there just is not room for them at already overcrowded secondary schools. Since new schools take time to build, we need to move forward now with plans to provide classrooms for all of these future middle- and high-school students,” said Rubalcava.
The recommendations that the Facilities Task Force offer are just suggestions. It will then be up to the voting public to take the next step and make sure these plans are carried out, and that they occur in a timely manner. The future vitality of the Valley depends on well-functioning schools.
Help pass along information about our district being in dire need of more classroom space so that everyone can make informed decisions as requests for more schools appear on future ballots. Please help support this district in its plans to ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of the families that live within its boundaries.
As a task force, we thank the Valley Record for supporting our efforts to keep the community informed over the last several months. And we thank you, the public, for listening and participating in our discovery process and the development of a solution that is best for kids. We hope you will continue to stay engaged in the process. Plan to attend the public hearing on Sept. 28. Also, there will be plenty of opportunities to help with a future bond effort. As always, we encourage you to visit our Web site at www.snoqualmie.k12.wa.us and click on “Facilities Task Force Information.”
Kathryn Lerner is a member of the Snoqualmie Valley School District Facilities Task Force, assembled by the Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors to explore options for dealing with the population growth in the district. For more details, visit the Web site listed above.