Anxious Snoqualmie Families Will Soon Know Next Year's Middle School

At last night’s school board meeting, Executive Director of Technology Services, Jeff Hogan, announced the timeline for an impending middle school boundary change needed so Snoqualmie Middle School can transition to Mount Si High School’s 9th grade campus in the fall of 2013.  The last middle school boundary change was in 2008 when Twin Falls Middle School opened.

Hogan said the re-boundary process should take 6-8 weeks and willl follow the process used for the 2010 elementary school boundary change.  A committee will be formed consisting of district administration and staff who will be presented with the various boundary options which will move current Snoqualmie Middle School students to Chief Kanim and Twin Falls next year.  As Chief Kanim currently has  approximately 440 students and Twins Falls  560 students, it is expected more Snoqualmie middle schoolers will move to Chief Kanim.  Both schools anticipate needing portables to handle their increasing student populations.

Committees should be formed and working by early October, with first boundary options presented to them around October 9th.  They will then examine those options and come up with a final set to present to the public.  The district anticipates that public announcement around October 19th.  Following the announcement, parents will be given chances to weigh in,  just like with the 2010 boundary change where there was an online survey, public meetings and an e-meeting.

After public input, the committee would then decide on its final middle school boundary recommendation and present it to the school board in early November.  They anticipate a public comment meeting on that recommendation before the board votes to adopt or reject the boundary change.

SVSD Policy 3130 (Boundary Changes) takes into consideration and evaluates the following criteria:

  • Disruption of students’ established learning programs
  • Established neighborhood groupings
  • Placement of siblings
  • Class loads and available space
  • Transportation routes with attendance areas
  • Diverse student populations
  • Maintaining relationship with a middle school and/or high school attendance area
  • Fiscal responsibility

Hogan stated that “Maintaining relationship with a Middle School and/or High School attendance Area” probably would not be relevant for this boundary change, as the district has only one comprehensive high school.

Hogan went on to say the the district understands boundary changes are a “very challenging process” and they strive to bring “compassion to the process.”

Current SVSD Middle School Boundary Map

Comments

  1. Annexation of Snoqualmie Middle School would be disastrous for all of our middle schoolers. It would not only displace 500 Middle Schools at Snoqualmie Middle School, it would be extremely disruptive to 600 Middle Schoolers at Twin Falls in North Bend (which is already over capacity).

    It is not too late to stop the annexation of Snoqualmie Middle School. Our school board has the authority to stop or delay this disastrous annexation at any point. A majority of the school board has stated that they would not support annexation if it meant dropping down to two middle schools for an extended period of time. It is time that we as parents demand that school board members keep their pledge to our community. We as a community have already paid for THREE middle schools. Our children have benefitted greatly from having three middle schools. We should insist on retaining three middle schools until such time that our high school is actually over capacity.

    According to the latest report from OSPI, 2012 Fall enrollment in the Snoqualmie Valley School District is 476 students in 8th Grade, 412 students in 9th Grade, 401 students in 10th Grade, 429 students in 11th Grade and 445 students in 12th Grade for a total current high school enrollment of 1,687 high school students for this year and about the same for the Fall of 2013 and about the same for the Fall of 2014. By comparison, 2009 high school Fall enrollment was 1630 and 2010 high school enrollment was 1580 and 2011 high school enrollment was 1610.

    In short, there has been almost no growth in high school enrollment for the past 3 years and none is likely to occur for the next two years. We have about the same enrollment now that we had in 2009. Meanwhile capacity at the high school was greatly expanded just a couple of years ago (by 360 students) with the addition of 12 portable classrooms and doubling the size of the cafeteria with the addition of the Wildcat Court. Conditions at our high school are not perfect. But they are better now than they have been in the past 6 years.

    The official capacity of Mount Si High School was 1,852 students in 2010. Last year, it was artificially lowered to 1759 students by assuming the classrooms will remain vacant nearly 20% of the time. But even at this lower capacity, and even if classrooms are allowed to be vacant 20% of the time, it is now certain that Mount Si High School will be about 100 students below capacity this year, and 2013 and 2014. In addition, there are fewer teachers at Mount Si High School now than there have been in the past 5 years. There is simply no reason to empty out 20 Freshman classrooms at the high school when there are already empty classrooms there. There is simply no need to annex Snoqualmie Middle School in 2013 or 2014.

    But while our high school is one hundred students below capacity, both Snoqualmie Middle School and Twin Falls Middle School are over capacity – even if Snoqualmie Middle School is not annexed! Rather than annexing a middle school to send our high schoolers – we should be annexing one of the high schools (Two Rivers) to handle the overflow at our middle schools!

    It is worth recalling that the plan to annex Snoqualmie Middle School was based on the false assumption that enrollment at Mount Si High School would skyrocket to more than 2300 students by 2013. We now know that this fake estimate was off by more than 500 students! The plan to annex Snoqualmie Middle School is and always has been based on a pack of lies. It is time for the school board to deal with reality that they were sold a bill of goods and adopt a plan that is in the best interest of all of our children.

    It is insane to be spending millions of dollars on extra portables and extra gas for extra buses to be driving middle schoolers to schools which are far from their homes – when annexation would create many more problems than it would solve and harm many more children than it would help. I urge parents affected by this unwise closure to start attending school board meetings and demand that the school board delay annexation of Snoqualmie Middle School until at least 2014 – and preferably until such time that enrollment at Mount Si High School actually exceed capacity.

    For more information on the drawbacks of annexing Snoqualmie Middle School and to sign our petition opposing annexation, visit our website: saveourmiddleschools.org.

    Regards,
    David Spring
    Parent, North Bend

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