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Superintendent Pierce presents recommendation on Parks/Wilder temporary boundary change

On Monday, Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce presented her recommendation on the temporary boundary change between Rosa Parks and Laura Ingalls Wilder elementary schools to the district’s board of directors.

The boundary will be in effect for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years and addresses overcrowding issues at Rosa Parks, which has an enrollment of 795 and is projected to reach 1,024 by 2015-16 if no change is made.

Pierce met with members of the Rosa Parks community who were concerned about with the size of the school in September 2012 and formed a temporary boundary committee to come up with a solution. The committee presented three possible scenarios to members of the community, who then provided comments and feedback.

After this whole process, Pierce recommended Scenario C to the board.

This option would move all of Redmond Ridge East to Wilder except for the Deveron neighborhood, affecting 201 current students and 112 projected students.

Julianne Bogaty, a parent whose daughter attends Rosa Parks, said one of the top priorities community members have expressed in their feedback is to keep neighborhoods together. The exclusion of Deveron from the move to Wilder in Scenario C does the opposite.

“It’s not keeping Redmond Ridge East together,” she said.

Kathryn Reith, communications director for LWSD, said they did not include Deveron in Scenario C because that would put Wilder at full capacity with no wiggle room, especially as more housing is being developed in the area, which would bring in an unknown amount of students.

She added that including additional elementary schools in the area would not be a viable solution as there would be issues of figuring out which neighborhoods would go to which schools — further breaking up the community — as well how students would get there. In addition, LWSD projections have all Redmond elementary schools at or over capacity in the next three years.

In response, Bogaty said, “It’s frustrating that Wilder and other area (elementary schools) are safeguarded from reaching even their full capacity, when Rosa Parks has gone way over capacity for years with no such protection.”

She said parents also have safety concerns with the over enrollment.

Although Rosa Parks is a walking school, many families will drive to school when the weather is particularly rainy. As a result, the surrounding area, as well as the school parking lot, can be particularly chaotic and dangerous at the beginning of the day.

“It just takes one misstep (from a child),” she said about the potential for accidents.

Following Pierce’s presentation on Monday, board members asked the boundary committee to take another look at the numbers and see if there is a creative way to include all of Redmond Ridge East at Wilder.

Bogaty said she and other community members appreciate this effort to utilize all available seats at Wilder.

The LWSD board will vote on the specific proposal on Jan. 28 and the community is encouraged to comment and provide input between now and then. Reith said the best way to do this is to email board@lwsd.org. People can also send a letter to PO Box 97039, Redmond, WA., 98073 or call the district office at (425) 936-1200 to leave a message for any of the board members.

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