MEAD, Wash — Several dozen parents sat in the Mead High School auditorium Wednesday night to hear the district's plan for handling growth in the area.
New schools are going to be built. Boundaries are going to be redrawn.
"Nothing has happened yet," said Assistant Superintendent Jared Hoadley. "And tomorrow morning when you get up, still, nothing has happened yet. When you leave tonight I want you chanting: nothing has happened yet."
But something does has to happen eventually. Mead School District is growing. Three of its eight elementary schools have more than 500 students and Prairie View has more than 700.
To accommodate the boom, the district passed a $114 million bond that will fund a new elementary school and a new middle school.
"We are increasing every year. It's a great problem to have," Hoadley said. "We'd much rather have a problem about building new schools than closing schools."
But the district recently learned it might have access to state money that could fund the construction of a tenth elementary school.
"The potential of having a tenth school changes absolutely everything that we were planning to do," Hoadley said.
Mead is now in the early stages of developing a new plan, one that will phase in over the course of several years.
The current idea: build the ninth school on the near southeast side of the district, just east of Farwell Elementary. Bus about 300 kids currently attending Prairie View to that school, from the relatively dense neighborhoods near Five Mile Road. Then, build the tenth school near Five Mile if possible and move those 300 kids there when it's finished.
The district says this plan keeps schools small, bus trips relatively short and kids in the same neighborhood together for the long term. But plenty of parents aren't convinced just yet.
"I have a number of concerns with this proposal," said Kim Perdue, who has children in the district. "But I'm hopeful that with the community feedback, the board will direct the committee to take another look, and come up with some good solutions."
All of the changing schools and busing across the district isn't particularly appealing to many families, and there are other concerns as well.
But the parents in the audience were also eager to listen and the district was eager to hear their feedback as well.
"I know that based on historical events, the board takes that seriously and takes that into account and makes changes," Perdue said.
As was re-iterated several times at the meeting, there have been no decisions made yet. Hoadley said that the final call will likely be unveiled in the fall.