Ballots are still being counted for our School Construction Bond, but that didn’t stop the Boundary Review Committee from meeting this week to discuss what will happen if the bond fails to reach a 60% supermajority and we can’t begin building new schools in the near future.
During their latest meeting, the group reviewed the new homes and developments within the district boundaries.
Dr. David Hammond, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools, said the forecasted student population growth, including 296 new students from the new houses currently for sale, and the 973 students from the proposed subdivisions, is darkening the horizon.
“The storm is offshore right now,” he said. “But it’s getting ready to come onshore in a couple of years. But we don’t have the plywood for our windows, and we don’t have the sandbags. We are not prepared.”
The Boundary Committee broke into small groups and began problem solving, searching for remedies for the approaching storm. They also discussed which schools have a little capacity left to share — either in their main buildings or in their portables. This would help spread out the crowding so schools that are severely overcrowded, like Shining Mountain Elementary, could breathe a little easier.
Hammond encouraged creative conversations among the group members. Everything was on the table, from putting portables on Art Crate Field, to taking no action at all.
The group also heard from Karen Campbell, Director of Transportation, who shared some guidelines the district had adhered to in the past during boundary changes, including keeping a watchful eye on travel time for students, and the fact that only 9% of roads in the Bethel School District have sidewalks — making walking to and from school very dangerous, especially in the winter months.
Campbell also encouraged the groups to look at who would be at the bus stops in the early morning hours.
“Who is at the bus stop at 5 a.m.? It can’t be a kindergartener,” she said.
The Boundary Review Committee meets again on December 3. Read more at bethelsd.org/Boundary