The Pasco School Board will take questions from parents with students at three west Pasco elementary schools as it wrestles with the latest attendance boundary realignments and the possible conversion of its newest school to a traditional elementary rather than an early learning center.
The meetings begin March 25 and precede a possible board decision on the boundaries at an April 14 meeting, a district news release said. They are the district’s latest attempt to ease tensions with families in the newer housing developments north of Interstate 182, where the district will open Barbara McClintock STEM Elementary School in the fall.
McClintock was designed to house only kindergartners up to second-graders, a plan parents at Maya Angelou, McGee and Rosalind Franklin STEM elementary schools have almost universally criticized along with the district’s overall approach to boundary realignment.
McClintock is under construction on Road 60 in west Pasco and will open in the fall. It’s one of three new science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, focused elementary schools paid for by a $46.8 million bond approved by voters two years ago.
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The district’s springboard proposal was to have Franklin, currently K-5, serve third- through sixth-graders while the newly opened McClintock would have kindergarten through second-graders. Whittier and Marie Curie STEM elementary schools on the east side will have a similar arrangement next fall.
Parents have questioned dividing kids between schools, pointing to additional stress on families with more schedules, volunteering requests in schools and split-up siblings. Research also points to negative effects on academic performance when students frequently change schools, some parents have said.
A few board members signaled at a late February board meeting their interest in making McClintock a K-6 school. However, they said they didn’t have all the answers necessary to determine how long it would take to retrofit the building, which is nearing completion, and how much that would cost. The results of planned meetings with the school’s architect and from a walk-through of the building haven’t been released.
Only parents with students at Maya Angelou, Franklin and McGee elementary schools will be able to comment at the meetings and only at the session held at their specific school, a release said. The meetings are otherwise open to the public to attend.
All sessions will begin at 6 p.m. with the first one at McGee on March 25, then Angelou on March 26 and Franklin on April 7. Those unable to attend can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.