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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Education

Spokane will look at changing school boundaries

As construction work begins on new middle schools in Spokane, administrators will analyze school boundaries across the city. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
As construction work begins on new middle schools in Spokane, administrators will analyze school boundaries across the city. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

As Spokane Public Schools adds three new middle schools during the next several years, it’s also offering a chance for citizens to contribute to their community and leave a lasting mark.

Lots of marks, actually.

Through Oct. 25, the district is taking applications for its Boundary Adjustment Committee, which will meet for about 18 months beginning in January.

It’s an important job. The committee, of 34 to 40 members, will review current and projected student enrollment and facilities. Then they will analyze the effects of attendance boundary changes for schools – including those affecting feeder patterns, neighborhood definitions and socioeconomic factors.

“We haven’t done this for probably 40 years in Spokane, so it will be an important process that communities feel they were involved,” Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson said.

“They’ll start in January. It’ll take them about a year to come up with some drafts, then we’ll have several community engagements on the drafts they come up with. The goal is by June of ’21, a year before we move students up, we’ll have the new boundaries set,” Anderson said.

Of the members, at least 24 will be community members – four each from the South Hill, Northeast and Northwest regions (roughly corresponding to Spokane City Council districts), and 12 selected by school districtwide lottery.

The district will also choose eight to 12 members who will each bring specific knowledge or representation to the committee. Due to the importance of the impact of this work, one or two representative union leaders would also be invited to join the committee, as well as up to two school board representatives.

All committee members must live within the school district.

Once selected, the committee will meet two evenings per month throughout 2020 to develop draft boundary adjustment options to present to the community by early 2021.

After receiving feedback, the committee will attempt to make a final recommendation to the school board by the beginning of June 2021 – one year before the district hopes to make final boundary adjustments on the North Side and two years before changes on the South Hill.

Anderson said the group will also tweak the boundary lines for some elementary and high schools to keep grade-school classmates together in middle school, if possible.

The new middle schools will be located near Albi Stadium, in the foothills area in northeast Spokane and on the South Hill.

The committee will be headed by Anderson and consultant Phil Crocker.

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