Camas School District reviews boundaries

Community meetings set to gather input on the proposed changes

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When Woodburn Elementary School opens its doors in the fall of 2013, it will be the sixth elementary school in Camas. The addition of a new building will mean a boundary revision at both elementary and middle school levels.

“We need to redistribute the student population of the district, that is what is driving this,” School Board member Doug Quinn said. “It also coincides with our long range facilities improvement. We are figuring out what the demands on our buildings are and trying to distribute students before we have to deal with more growth related issues.”

A Boundary Review Committee, which was formed by members of the district’s Citizen Advisory Committee, began meeting in February to look at potential revisions to present to the School Board for adoption.

The criteria involved in the process include future growth considerations, matching enrollment with building capacity, providing socioeconomic balance, and minimizing student travel and transportation costs, including walk zones, aligning middle school attendance boundaries with elementary feeder schools and considering neighborhood connectivity.

“There is a really thorough evaluation of everything,” Quinn said. “It’s very difficult when you have to move students from one building to another, and we want to minimize this.”

In addition to the committee meetings, Superintendent Mike Nerland and board members have made 22 presentations to parent groups and at staff meetings during February and March to discuss the boundary review process. This month, there will be two informal community meetings, called “listening posts,” to gather more input. These will take place at Grass Valley Elementary and Hayes Freedom High School.

“Listening posts are an effective way of getting and hearing information,” Quinn said. “Some people aren’t comfortable in a large audience or formal meeting.”

The School Board will have a hearing on the boundary changes at its Monday, May 14 meeting. Final adoption is expected Tuesday, May 29.