Lake Washington School District parents plan to rally against boundary changes
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
May 17, 2010 · 7:54 PM
A group of Lake Washington School District parents concerned about the district's recent decision to change school feeder patterns plan to rally against the redistricting during a public meeting May 20 at Bell Elementary.
Effective with the 2012-13 school year, the district will make more efficient use of building space by changing the grade configurations and also shifting some schools' "feeder" pathways to reduce overcrowding. Feeder changes include shifting some Kirkland students across Redmond city borders and vice versa.
But some Kirkland parents are upset that they weren't notified of the "dramatic redistricting" until Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball sent a letter to parents May 4.
"I was shocked," said Sheri Putzke, whose daughter attends Bell Elementary and son goes to Kirkland Junior High. "I couldn't believe we were given this form of notification for this sort of significant change."
Putzke says the district provided a "tremendous opportunity" for parents to provide input on budget cuts last year, and she is concerned that the district did not provide the same opportunity with Kimball's recent redistricting decision.
In a press release, a group of concerned Bell Elementary parents urged affected families to rally at two public meetings, including one that was held in Redmond on Thursday. Concerned families will also rally at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 20 at Bell Elementary, when Kimball plans to review changes and answer questions.
"We want to have more of a presence at the meetings to warn the school board that parents are upset about this," Putzke noted.
According to the press release, district officials "have not told parents how students would be transported outside of their neighborhood schools - located within walking distance - to schools that are located miles away, in separate city and unincorporated county limits."
However, LWSD communications director Kathryn Reith said the district will transport students by bus to any school if they meet the criteria, which is living more than a one-mile radius from the school.
Several Kirkland parents are also concerned that their students should remain in City of Kirkland boundaries, where they pay city taxes.
But Reith said that Kirkland city taxes do not go to the school district.
"Lake Washington School District taxes do, whether they (students) are from homes in Kirkland, King County, Redmond or Sammamish."
Reith also reminded parents that Kimball will go over all the details of the move during the meeting May 20.
"Feeder pattern changes are never easy nor popular," she said. "That’s why the last one for this district happened 17 years ago. The criteria for which school is moved in such a change is based on geography, so long as the number of students works with the desired impact. That’s why there are seldom options available when a feeder pattern change is needed to balance the number of students in schools."Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at email@example.com or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).