Snoqualmie Valley School Board Redistricting Plan Voted On Tonight, May 26th

SVSD’s original redistricting proposal hit the internet on April 22nd.  Suffice to say, that proposal was not well received.  The plan’s opposition voiced its displeasure at a public comment meeting on April 28th.  At that same meeting, a Citizen’s Redistricting Proposal was presented as a “counter-offer.”  Almost one month later, after many discussions, emails and  significant plan alternations, the SVSD School Board is finally voting to officially adopt a redistricting proposal.  A plan seen as a compromise between the original and citizen’s plan.

In the new plan, the citizen proposal’s boundary lines are not adopted, only its driving concept – the infamous 2,2,1 school board structure that mirrors valley population centers.   This  plan gives North Bend 2 board seats, Fall City and Snoqualmie each one “pure” board seat and one shared seat between Snoqulamie Ridge and the Lake Alice area.  The plan eliminates one director district in North Bend and moves it to Snoqualmie – epicenter of population growth.  That seat is not available to a Snoqualmie candidate until 2014, though.  As board members are elected by and charged with representing the whole school district, state statute says sitting board members can serve out terms if a seat is lost to redistricting.  Marci Busby and Scott Hodgins would reside in the same district, but their terms do not expire until 12/31/2013.  Hodgins has stated he still has goals to meet and won’t step down early.  No word if he would consider running against Marci to continue serving past 2013.

The two-year delay to seat the new Snoqualmie district is a sticking point with many residents.  Overriding sentiment is that the school board is saying (with its new plan) that Snoqualmie deserves assured school board representation.   If the board agrees by adopting the plan,  many  feel delaying that new seat is unfair.  They want balanced school board representation now, as Snoqualmie is 2/5 of the district’s population.  Nearly 250 Snoqualmie residents signed a letter to the school board urging it to seat their new district now – not in two years.  That letter will be presented to the school board today.   Throughout the redistricting process, the school board has shown responsiveness to public opinion.

The school board meets tonight, May 26th, at 7:30PM at the district office, 8001 Silva Ave SE.  The board’s redistricting vote is the last agenda item.  Citizens arriving late are still allowed to enter the meeting.

Comments

  1. First, thank you for your unbiased report. Second, I want to clarify one other sticking point with the District’s plan. In the Citizen’s Plan, the division of North Bend was made using I-90 as a dividing line. Everything to the south would be one district, everything to the north another. This was a very simple division to make that granted North Bend with two disricts of equal population. Further, this type of division was fully compliant with every criterion contained in state statute relative to the redistricting process and with SVSD School Board Policy 1105.

    Had the citizen’s division of North Bend been considered, this would have allowed the new seat in Snoqualmie to be open for election this year. However, in an effort to maintain one of the three existing directors currently serving on the board, the Board drew the North Bend line a different way. This enables one seated school board member, Caroline Loundenback, to maintain her seat which is actually up for reelection this year! What the citizen’s plan proposed was to eliminate that seat through simple attrition now, to allow implementation of the long overdue Snoqualmie “seat” now.

    As a result of the district’s plan, 7,000 Snoqualmie residents residing in the new district will have NO opportunity to run for school board this year. In fact, they will not be eligible to run until 2013 and seated on the Board until 2014.

    That is the biggest issue right now and the one that has created the most frustration amongst parents who have been waiting for realignment based on population growth for a long time.

    Another source of frustration was the shared district that currently (and will continue under the district’s plan) to merge Lake Alice with about 6,000 residents of Snoqualmie Ridge. If you have been following this process, one of the criteria that should be followed when designing districts, is that areas must be contiguous and must represent existing communities of mutual and common interest. I am sure that many of you are aware that Lake Alice is not contiguous with Snoqualmie Ridge. I am also sure many of you understand the history of adding a road between Lake Alice and Snoqualmie Ridge. Because of these two factors, the Citizen’s Plan deemed this shared area noncompliant with statute.

    However, in order to free up the new, pure Snoqualmie seat, the group responsible for developing the Citizen’s Plan was willing to concede this area and strike a compromise. We would not argue the Lake Alice-Snoqualmie Ridge “merge”, in exchange for drawing the North Bend line differently.

    Obviously, you see where we are now.

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