High school boundary
adjustments in Everett being mapped
People at the growth forum Nov. 27 at Jackson High School peer over maps.
EVERETT — By the end of December, new high school boundaries will be taking shape.
However, a final recommendation on boundaries isn’t due until March 31, and changes won’t happen until fall 2020.
In the meantime, throw out preconceived notions of where those boundary lines will be, project facilitator Jim Dugan emphasized to the audience at a Henry M. Jackson High School forum Nov. 27.
“Nothing is designed, nothing baked,” said Dugan, a consultant who’s collaborated on boundary revisions with several Washington school districts.
The Everett School District has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to easing severe overcrowding at Jackson High School after voters rejected its springtime ask for a $330 million bond, which in part was to build a fourth high school.
It recently instituted a 30 person High School Growth Mitigation Committee to make a recommendation to the superintendent. They’ve already read through each of the 471 comments received since June, Dugan said. They’ll meet again five more times, for a total of eight sessions.
The current, roughed-out plan is to move about 400 students north from Jackson to Cascade High School and 400 Cascade students to Everett High School. Jackson is 402 students over capacity, Cascade is close to capacity, and Everett High School is 536 under capacity, Dugan said.
People were able to give feedback at the meeting and there will be another online comment period during January and February. The district will also host another series of community forums in February.
Dugan and board members took suggestions and dispelled some, but not all, of parents’ fears at the meeting.
“This is a decision between bad and worse,” Dugan said. But he promised the community would have a meaningful say in the decision making process. I’m “not here to patronize you,” he said.
“I’m a clean slate.”
One parent expressed fear that seeing a prior preliminary map gave some families a false sense of security that might have led them to not bother attending the November meetings.
About 100 people attended the Jackson forum, compared to more than 200 at a May forum.
Many parents worried if their children had to attend Cascade High School, earlier bus rides on busier roads would be drawbacks.
“She’ll be there, but she’ll be in her pajamas with no food,” quipped one mother.
Another parent said she already spent time commuting to school two to three times a week due to her child’s extracurriculars; she feared 45-minute each way commutes if they had to change schools.
Some parents wondered why there had to be an Everett School District at all: they thought erasing those lines across the state would help balance enrollment.
“Why can’t he go to Glacier Peak,” Denise Mortensen asked for her son.
Another mother said there were three high schools — in and out of district — within walking distance of her child, but she thought she would still end up having to attend Cascade.
Justine and Bryan Drewery’s daughter had car sickness, they said. They hoped voters would reconsider a bond, though a new school would still be several years out if one passed. The school board is considering a bond for 2020.
Bryan Drewery had attended school in a California county where there were no in-county boundaries and wished Snohomish County would follow suit. People can keep up with the boundary revision process or other developments at www.everettsd.org/Page/26839
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