The Marysville School District may soon have new middle school and high school boundaries and a possibly final proposal has been presented to local parents.
District officials met with local residents in a series of community forums in January to gather feedback of the new plan.
“In March 2019 the [school] board decided to move to two comprehensive high schools and away from the old SLC model,” said Scott Beebe, assistant superintendent of the Marysville School District. “When they did that they decided to move to boundaries for the two high schools."
The school board also wanted to move to a feeder model for elementary schools so that kids who go to kindergarten together would stay together throughout their schooling.
A committee consisting mostly of parents was formed by the school district to put together the boundary proposal.
“We tried hard to make sure our representation was from across the district,” said Beebe.
Marysville School District Superintendent Jason Thompson thanked the committee members for their work.
“Whenever you talk about changing boundaries in a school district, it’s a very sensitive subject,” said Thompson.
“I appreciate the work of the committee. It’s been a long process and a very difficult process,” he said.
Under the model recommended by the committee, students who go to Pinewood, Kellogg Marsh or Liberty elementary schools would go to Cedarcrest Middle School and then Marysville Getchell High School.
Students who go to Marshall, Quil Ceda Tulalip or Sunnyside elementary schools would attend Totem Middle School and then to Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Grove Elementary and Allen Creek Elementary students will head to Marysville Middle School and then to Getchell.
Cascade Elementary and Shoultes Elementary students would also go to Marysville Middle School but then to M-PHS.
The Marysville Cooperative Education Partnership, 10th Street Middle School, Heritage High School and Legacy High School remain as choice schools.
Many of the boundary decisions were made in mind to make sure that students of color and/or those who receive free/reduced lunch are not too concentrated at any one school, said Beebe.
Officials also tried to balance the two high schools in terms of total attendance.
“Right now we have a very large difference between the two high schools in enrollment,” said Beebe. “That creates a disparate experience for the kids in the number of courses we can offer and programs we can offer."
This is the reason why Sunnyside Elementary students head to M-PHS in the model, he said. Sunnyside’s service area also shares a border with Tulalip Quil Ceda's area, which makes bus routes more efficient, said Beebe.
The middle school boundaries were a challenge.
“These were by far the hardest to come up with anything that made sense,” said Beebe. Besides 10th Street Middle School, all of the district’s middle schools are close to each other.
“They are crazy close together for an area the size we serve,” said Beebe.
In the model, Liberty Elementary students are bused to Cedarcrest Middle School, despite two middle schools being in their service area.
Beebe noted this region has high student density, so running buses there does not cost as much.
“We have three schools that are significantly different in terms of economics,” said Beebe. Quil Ceda Tulalip, Cascade and Liberty elementary all have high rates of free/reduced lunch and therefore couldn’t feed to the same middle school.
Due to this and other considerations, Liberty Elementary to Cedarcrest Middle School was the preferred choice from the boundaries committee.
The Marysville School District has committed that if these boundaries are adopted there will be no disruption to current high school students, said Beebe.
“We’ve already committed that we will grandfather kids into their existing high school,” he said.
“We will also provide transportation,” as the district did not want to penalize those families who could not provide their own transportation.
The initial presentation of the boundary proposal was slated go before the school board on Feb. 3 although a final vote is not scheduled for that time.
“There’s a misconception that the decision is already made. This is a board decision,” said Beebe.
Beebe said that the decision should be done by March 2 if the board wants to enact boundaries the next school year.