Kennewick School Board: 80 Lincoln Elementary students to be shifted

Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 25, 2014 

About 80 students from Lincoln Elementary School will be shifted to three other schools next year to ease overcrowding under a plan approved this week by the Kennewick School Board.

The students will be moved to Southgate, Westgate and Edison elementary schools.

Board member Heather Kintzley was the lone dissenting vote. Board member Ron Mabry was absent from the meeting.

"I understand why you're recommending it," Kintzley told district administrators. "I just have really strong feelings about moving kids so close to another (boundary) realignment."

More boundary changes are possible in coming years if voters approve a future bond and new schools are built.

Moving the Lincoln students in the meantime should eliminate the need for portable classrooms at Lincoln, though that could change if state lawmakers accelerate the implementation of all-day kindergarten, officials said.

Board members said they were concerned about disrupting the socioeconomic mix at Lincoln.

District administrators said they may still tweak where students end up after they talk to families and hold meetings at the schools. Still, there are few other good options, they said.

"The whole point of this is to make room at Lincoln," said Assistant Superintendent Greg Fancher.

Lincoln's students and teachers attending classes in the Fruitland building near downtown Kennewick as their school undergoes renovations.

District officials have said the school is already expected to have more students than will fit in the renovated building in the fall.

Administrators have recommended shifting 20 students living in the Copper Ridge Apartments near Southridge High School to Southgate Elementary School; 33 students living in the Highlander Apartments between Second and Fourth avenues to Westgate Elementary School; and 30 students living around Johnson Street to Edison Elementary School.

Also Wednesday, the board:

-- Approved a new test to assess the fluency of students in the district's dual language program as they enter high school.

The program runs from kindergarten to eighth grade and aims to make students from native English and native Spanish backgrounds fluent in both languages by the time they reach high school.

The first class from the program will be freshmen next year.

Administrators said the test, which is called STAMP, will be used to determine what level of Spanish the students should take if they continue in the language in high school.

-- Waived receiving compensation for attending meetings or other district functions for the year.

District policy requires the board to either accept or reject compensation at the beginning of each calendar year.

State law allows school board members to be paid $50 per meeting or sanctioned event but annual compensation can't exceed $4,800.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402;; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald

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