Ready? SVSD Announces Middle School Boundary Change Final Choice

At tonight’s school board meeting in Mount Si’s Wildcat Court, the Snoqualmie Valley School District Boundary Study Committee announced its top choice for next fall’s new middle school attendance boundaries  lines.  The choice was announced after a presentation by the district’s demographer and then a re-cap of the month-long process that arrived at the final recommendation.

The committee picked option F as its final middle school attendance boundary choice.  This newly added option keeps all Cascade View students together and buses them to Twin Falls Middle School next year.

With this option, Twin Falls is predicted to have 140-170 more students than Chief Kanim (at around 835 students)  over the next three years, but the district says this boundary choice provides more opportunity for open enrollment at Chief Kanim for Snoqualmie students wanting to attend school there.  Currently, about 20 Snoqualmie students open enroll at CKMS.  District officials say if they get too many families requesting open enrollment next year, it will be lottery-based.

Much of the discussion after the announcement addressed the enrollment imbalance oatthe two remaining middle schools.

The boundary review process consisted of four weeks of study and public discussion on various options that moved current SMS students to Chief Kanim or Twin Falls Middle Schools.  The move is necessary next year when Snoqualmie Middle School closes and becomes Mount Si’s Freshman Campus.

A public hearing on the committee’s boundary choice will be held in the coming weeks and it is expected to be formerly voted on by the SVSD school board at their next regular meeting on November 8th.  This next meeting also marks beginning of a new location for SVSD school board meetings – at the Snoqualmie City Hall council chambers.  Board meetings start at 6:30PM.

 

Comments

  1. Stephen Kangas says

    At tonight’s SVSD board meeting where this Option F (see above) was presented by the SVSD Administration as their recommendation, I urged the board to direct the Administration to investigate the idea of keeping the SMS family of student body, staff and parent relationships intact by moving them as a whole to whatever becomes their temporary site…an idea floating in our communities that has been growing in popularity. By having this idea added as a new Option for study by the Boundary Committee, and subsequent review of their findings by the school board, SVSD demonstrates to the public that they are open to new idea solutions that in this case mitigates the disruption resulting from the closing of a middle school (ie, the conversion of SMS into a 9th grade only campus).

    Certain members of the school board responded favorably to this suggestion, and began a conversation with the Boundary Committee chair about getting certain cost and other aspects studied quickly.

    I also asked that this new option not only be seriously studied by the Administration, but also included in new public surveys to both gauge public interest as compared to the other option(s) and to clearly show the public that SVSD is listening to and seeking validation from the public.

  2. Stephen Kangas says

    OH, and just to be clear: tonight’s presentaton to the school board of the SVSD Administration’s Boundary Committe recommendation (Option F) leaves a few more steps left in the process. Next step: public hearings on the Option F were planned. Ultimately, the school board will approve a final boundary map at a future date. This process and its timeline may be impacted by further new Option studies, including the “SMS Intact” idea and another that director Scott Hodgins suggested tonight.

  3. Gina Spiller says

    The concern of Board Pres. Dan Popp to keeping SMS together is that it would create a 943 kid campus at CKMS and a 460 kid campus at TFMS. But really the idea is that there would by TWO 470 kid campuses on the CKMS site and a 460 kid campus at TFMS. CKMS would not be a super-sized school, it would be two schools at one site which is a totally different concept. It is a great idea in terms of keeping SMS alive and keeping it’s teachers employed in their same capacities. Instead of splitting portables between 2 middle schools, send them all down to CKMS and make a temporary SMS campus there. I think this idea is very valid,.

  4. Stephen Kangas says

    Some may assume that CKMS would be the location for this, but TFMS should be investigated to be fair. I think that the parents/students affected should have a strong influence over where. Regardless, the reduction from 3 to 2 middle schools is fraught with problems that need to be addressed with prioritization reflecting what is most important to the public. SVSD has been openly intentional at excluding parent representation on the Boundary Committee, citing past parent complaints, which has provided them the convenience of narrowing the decision criteria and final recommendation to a small administrative staff that is primarily looking after internal needs.

    • Gina Spiller says

      One of the things that bothers me the most by closing the middle school is what it does to the loyal SMS teaching staff. There is no concern for the people teaching the children at SMS right now and what this change means to them. Nothing worse than a boss who doesn’t care that his unilateral decisions affect you in a negative way, especially in this economic environment where you may not have the option to say “no” and you DARE NOT speak against “the man”. It seems that so much is expendable to the school district administration: a long established middle school, teachers, neighborhood relationships, quality of education, common sense. None of that seems to matter to them since they can feed their own egos and surround themselves with “yes” men to prop up their decisions. It is very frustrating to know that NONE of these changes HAVE to happen. It is the choice of the school district administration to hurry and force all this at this time. They should attempt another middle school bond measure before they open the new FLC (aka MSFC) now that families understand what closing SMS really means to their children’s education.

  5. Stephen Kangas says

    Jeff Hogan, chair of the boundary change committee (small group of internal SVSD Admin staff), just posted today an update to the superintendent approved boundary change recommendations document. It includes a new “Option G” that considers moving the SMS staff & student body intact to CKMS where they would be temporarily housed for the most part separately. Here’s a link to that document: http://sharepoint.snoqualmie.k12.wa.us/public/Boa

    I applaud the SVSD board of directors for directing the Admin to investigate this new option, which demonstrates to the public that they are listening. At their last meeting, the school board directors were particularly interested in also knowing detail about any additional costs involved in such an option. Unfortunately, this document does not provide any reasonable detail behind a stated claim that it will cost $1.2-1.5M extra, ie it seems like a wave of the hand number. I submit that directors need much more detail justifying the actual extra costs, if any (and there is an argument that it should cost no more than Option F), in order for them to fulfill their primary fiduciary duties. There are some additional items in the doc re Option G that need further explanation or clarification.

    Share your thoughts on what they’ve come up with. This will be presented to the SVSD BOD at their next meeting 8 Nov (this Thu) at 6:30pm at the City Hall of Snoqualmie.

    • Gina Spiller says

      It appears from the conclusions drawn by Jeff Hogan on Option G that the administration doesn’t want to do Option G so they asked him to make it look unreasonable. I agree with Steven that this wave of the hand estimate is a wave of the hand dismissal. As far as 2 middle schools sharing a library, my daughter says she has been in the library at SMS about 5 times since Sept. 2011. I don’t think that sharing a library would be too tough when each student visits it 4 times a school year. The benefits to the SMS community and to the teachers employed by SMS should have more weight than they are currently given. Yeah, it’s about numbers, but it is also about PEOPLE: children, teachers, families and the whole community.

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