The Boundary Review Committee kicked off the new year with some new information. Since their last meeting, the School Board had decided to put the bond that failed in November back before the voters this February.
That decision gave the boundary committee pause. Initially their goal was to kick off 2019 with their recommendations for the School Board. But the possibility of a bond passing next month would change everything.
“You have about 25 ‘what ifs’ and only one absolute. The absolute is easy: we’re overcrowded. The ‘what ifs’ are tough. It’s a little ambiguous, but that’s your job. You have the expertise, the experience and the pulse of the community.” — Assistant Superintendent David Hammond
Boundary changes in Bethel are inevitable. If the bond passes, once the new schools are built, boundary changes will need to be made to fill those new classrooms. If the bond fails, boundary changes will still be needed to help out the overcrowded schools, which are currently worse at schools in the northern end of the district.
The principals and community members that make up the boundary committee aren’t the only ones looking at the future of the district. The Long Range Facilities Task Force is also meeting this month to continue their discussions about possible solutions if the bond fails for a fifth time. Those include year-round, multi-track schools and double shifting.
With that in mind, the boundary committee decided to reconvene again after the election. They can then weigh the outcome of the bond along with the Task Force recommendations to the School Board, as well as the new enrollment projections for the fall.
One thing the boundary committee did commit to, was to work hard to limit the disruption to families, and to make sure that communication was at the forefront, so there would be plenty of time for parents to prepare for the inevitable changes that are coming.