In a plan unveiled today by SVSD, Snoqualmie’s population will now be divided into four parts and added to 4 of the 5 current school board director districts – instead of getting its own districts. What does this mean? It means pieces of Snoqualmie will now be part of the 3 current North Bend school board districts and 1 part will stay in the current Fall City/Snoqualmie district. Each school board member is elected by all district registered voters.
In this fall’s school board elections, if a Snoqualmie resident runs for a board position, they will need to unseat an incumbent. This is not an impossible feat, but not the easiest either. What is the impact for Fall City and North Bend? It means the future could see Snoqualmie controlling the school board since its population is now part of 4/5 director districts. In a school district with 3 distinct and diverse cities, shouldn’t each have representation by board members from their specific residential area?
During last year’s elementary school boundary change, school board members were driven through Snoqualmie Ridge to help them understand the neighborhoods and boundaries. This was necessary because no current school board members live in Snoqualmie. Thus making it hard to understand all the distinct Ridge neighborhoods. Do North Bend and/or Fall City residents want decisions directly impacting their neighborhood made by representatives living 7 – 12 miles from that neighborhood – not to mention in a different city?
The reason for the school board redistricting was Snoqualmie’s rapid growth over the past 10 years. State law requires redistricting to represent current census population data. A new census was done last year. Snoqualmie grew 396% in ten years – taking the title of Washington’s fastest growing city. This population shift/change made redistricting necessary according to state law. Snoqualmie is now as big as North Bend, which until this redistricting, had its own director districts.
These new proposed districts create the possibility of Snoqualmie controlling the school board and direction of this district. If 4 Snoqualmie residents were to run and unseat incumbents, Snoqualmie school board representatives could essentially control the board. Historically, Snoqualmie has very strong voter turnout. This could be a reality. Are North Bend and Fall City residents ready for this?
In a geographically large school district which incorporates 3 different cities, it seems the most fair and representative school board would be one guaranteed to represent each specific area/city. At least that is my take on it. Feel free to disagree. Taking Snoqualmie’s population, dividing it into 4 pieces and combining it with current districts does not appear to ensure this. My Snoqualmie Ridge neighborhood is now part of the North Bend Rattlesnake Lake director district.
A public meeting on the new school board director districts takes place Thursday, April 28th, at 6:45PM – prior to next week’s school board meeting. The meeting is at the District Office located at 8001 Silva Ave SE in historic Snoqualmie. To see Samammish Data System Redistrict Recommendation and supporting data click here: director_realignment_recommendation-1.