It was a marathon 3+ hour school board meeting last night – with school board redistricting being the very last agenda item. I was glad I chose a cushioned chair.
The SVSD School Board made it very clear they are aware the public does not approve of Sammamish Data Systems’ (SDS) original plan. A plan that splits Snoqualmie’s population into four pieces, breaking up the community. Thus, as they had not yet had the opportunity to publicly discuss the topic as a group, they requested time during last night’s meeting for a work session. That session lasted about an hour and ended with a clear direction for the next SDS recommendation.
Board member, Scott Hodgins, lead most of the discussion. He suggested having the director district boundary lines run perpendicular to the I-90 corridor instead of parallel as they do now. He pointed out that as our population grows, it could be easier to shift these lines during future census data redistricting. He suggested using natural and city boundaries as possible district division lines. Examples include using North Bend and Snoqualmie’s city limits and the Snoqualmie and Raging Rivers.
This type of perpendicular district division would result in two districts (east and west) in North Bend and two districts in Snoqualmie. Historic Snoqualmie would be combined with newer areas of Snoqualmie Ridge. The compact area of northern Snoqualmie Ridge would still combine with Lake Alice. Because Fall City has 8,500 residents and Snoqualmie roughly 13,000 residents, it becomes necessary to combine a small portion of Fall City with Snoqualmie to achieve two 7,000 resident districts. The remaining 7,000 Fall City residents create the last district.
In this scenario, Marci Busby’s district is eliminated, becoming part of Scott Hodgins’s district. Marci would need to run against Scott to serve on school board. Caroline Loudenback, Dan Popp and Craig Husa still reside in their former districts and would run for re-election as incumbents in November. One new district is created which assures one new Snoqualmie board member this January.
When the work session ended, the board agreed to ask Sammamish Data to explore this type of district division. It is unknown if this scenario works until SDS looks at the population data. It was warned something similar, but not exact, might come back as the revised recommendation. It is dependent upon population numbers and following the state criteria. Basically, though, the board is giving SDS a direction for a compromise between the original plan and the citizen plan. The citizen plan entailed two sitting board members losing their seats.
The district hopes to see the new, revised recommendation on their website by Tuesday, May 17th. The board will then hold a work session at 7PM Wednesday, May 18th, just prior to the public comment hearing. By state law, new realignment plans require public comment meetings. The board did say there could be tweaks to the plan during their work session. The public would be notified of those tweaks and the plan updated accordingly at the time of the public comment hearing.
That hearing happens at the district office this Wednesday, May 18th, following the 7PM school board work session. State law requires a 7 day waiting period following public comment meetings before voting to adopt the redistricting plan. SVSD School Board can legally vote on the plan at their May 26th meeting. New director districts would be established before the school board election filing deadline in June.
For additional information on the redistricting process please visit http://www.svsd410.org/