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Spokane Public Schools hosts community forum on proposed boundary changes

SPS said boundary adjustments are needed to support changes in grade configurations, relieve overcrowding and accommodate student growth throughout the district.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — For the first time in 40 years, Spokane Public Schools proposed major changes to school boundaries. The overhaul would impact thousands of local families.     

As growth in the city has changed, school enrollment numbers shifted. This has led to dramatic differences in school sizes. The district is adding three new middle schools, thus moving to a 6-8 grade middle school configuration.

SPS said boundary adjustments are needed to support changes in grade configurations, relieve overcrowding and accommodate student growth throughout the district.

In a forum on April 15, Boundary Adjustment Committee members discussed schools on the north side of the district. 

The committee said 8% of elementary, 42% of middle and 22% of of high school students will be impacted by the boundary changes. 

Click or tap here for an interactive map of the elementary school adjustments.

Click or tap here for an interactive map of the middle school adjustments.

Click or tap here for an interactive map of the high school adjustments.

The draft of the boundary maps contain changes for these elementary schools, in addition to all middle and high schools: Adams, Arlington, Audubon, Franklin, Hamblen, Holmes, Hutton, Lincoln Heights, Linwood, Moran Prairie, Mullan Road, Sheridan and Wilson.

SPS online forums

SPS held three more online forums to collect feedback for the Boundary Adjustment Committee on what will be draft proposed adjustments. 

The north side forum was held on April 19. The south side had a forum on April 22 and another will be held on April 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register on their website.

The School Board also plans to hold a public hearing on the final proposed boundary adjustments on June 2.

To submit feedback, email boundaries@SPS81.org.

Committee outlines six guidelines

The committee made a list of six guidelines they are following for changing the attendance lines, according to their forum. 

Communication and Process

They want to prioritize community engagement, provide a transparent process and ensure regular communication with city and county planning departments.

Diversity

They will be considering cultural and socio-economic diversity through attendance boundaries and program offerings.

Legacy (Grandfathering)

They said they would incorporate legacy status as needed to transition students into neighborhood schools as changes are implemented.

Neighborhoods

They want to support "walkability" and shorter commute times, as well as keep neighborhood groups together.

School Quality

Each SPS school wants to have high-quality offering with interesting programming.

Transportation

They want to keep transportation costs as low as possible.

There are ways around the boundary changes, though. SPS will continue to offer opportunities to attend a school other than their assigned neighborhood school, known as "choicing in," they said. Students can apply to attend any school, but acceptance depends on available capacity for neighborhood students.

Shaw and Glover middle schools will be replaced with new schools in 2020-21, with expected completion in August 2021. The new Northeast and Northwest middle schools will be built in 2021-22, with expected completion in August 2022. Replacing Sacajawea and building a new Southside middle school will take place during the 2022-23 school year, with expected completion in August 2023, their website said.