Pasco school officials delay boundary decisions

Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 23, 2014 

Pasco school officials are delaying a decision on attendance boundaries for their west Pasco elementary schools to have more time to consider community input.

The district released the third version of proposed boundaries Thursday.

The Pasco School Board was originally scheduled to consider the boundaries at its regular Tuesday meeting, but Superintendent Saundra Hill said the board will instead hear the proposal Feb. 11.

"There's just not enough turnaround time to get the input and get the board up to speed," Hill said during a Herald editorial board meeting Thursday.

Rosalind Franklin STEM Elementary School will open this fall at Powerline Road and Road 52. The school is one of three new schools Pasco is building with a $46.8 million bond and will have a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, curriculum.

The new school requires attendance boundaries to shift, particularly those for Edwin Markham, James McGee and Mark Twain elementary schools.

While proposed boundaries for Twain and nearby Maya Angelou and Ruth Livingston elementary schools have changed little since a second draft of a map released last week, those for Franklin, McGee and Markham have shifted with each revision.

The latest proposal would have students living north of Burden Boulevard between roads 60 and 44, including the Clark Addition off Clark Road, attending Franklin. All other students living north of Interstate 182 between roads 68 and 36 would attend McGee. Markham would take students outside those developments.

The district plans to allow students who will be fifth-graders to remain at their current school or let families seek an exemption from attending the school within their new attendance zone. Families will have until the end of February to file those requests.

The district held meetings at all five west Pasco elementary schools to get feedback from parents. Some have criticized the boundaries, asking why they would send their children to a school more than a mile away when they could instead walk to one within a few blocks. Others have voiced concerns about whether there will be enough room for families who want to "opt-in" to attend the STEM school.

"You can't make everybody happy," Hill said.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald

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