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Proposed CKSD boundary changes create concerns

Parents, from what the Central Kitsap School District’s (CKSD’s) Secondary Boundary Committee has designated the Tracyton Triangle, shared their concerns about what the proposed changes might have on their students at Thursday’s secondary boundary review forum at the Jenne-Wright Administration Center.

The Triangle is defined as the area south of Bucklin Hill Road, west of Olson Road and east of Nels Nelson Road. Currently, junior high students in those neighborhoods attend Central Kitsap Junior High School and Central Kitsap High School.

Under three of the four options presented by the district, the junior high students would attend Ridgetop Junior High School or Fairview Junior High before transferring to Olympic High School in the 2009-10 school year.

Additionally, in all of the options, students in the neighborhood north of Huckle Drive would attend Fairview Junior High and Olympic High schools.

“Fairview Junior High has 547 students, which is significantly below capacity,” boundary committee member Dirk Gleysteen told the more than 30 parents and students at the forum. “The problem creates small schools with smaller staff and fewer course offerings at fewer times throughout the day.”

During the last secondary boundary review, Fairview was nearly at its maximum capacity, so students were reassigned to Ridgetop, which at the time was below capacity, Gleysteen said.

One of the challenges the district has in terms of its secondary school attendance assignments is it has four junior high schools and only three high schools, which ultimately results in students being unable to remain with their classmates throughout their entire scholastic careers in the district, he said.

“We are aware of the emotional impact that it can create, and traumatic is not too strong a word,” Gleysteen said.

In addressing the concerns raised by parents, CKSD Superintendent Greg Lynch said it is not the district’s intention to break up cohort groups.

“We will be looking at grandfathering, and I believe that there are maybe 50 or 60 seniors that could be affected by the outcome,” Lynch said.

However, it is highly possible the students who are impacted by the changes could go back to their former schools, even if they are now outside of that school’s attendance boundary through CKSD’s intradistrict transfer policy, he said.

“We will not do anything that looks pretty ridiculous,” he assured the crowd, noting the district’s first priority is to its own students ahead of out-of-district students wishing to attend CKSD schools.

For those parents expressing concerns about the quality of education at Fairview, Lynch said its staff is among the best in the entire district. The reason for its decline in enrollment has to do with the fact there are some older neighborhoods in that area, he added.

“We are going to take what you’re saying tonight to see what we think the right option is based upon your input,” Lynch said.

The CKSD Board of Directors will review the input during a study session at its Dec. 10 meeting. The final decision will be made by Lynch on Jan. 14, 2009.

More information about the proposed changes can be found on the district’s Web site at www.cksd.wednet.edu.

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