Updated, 5/11 - "A lot of Bell Elementary parents in Kirkland are f-u-m-i-n-g right now."
On May 4th, the Lake Washington School District announced changes to the configuration of elementary, junior high and high schools along with a change to the feeder school for AG Bell and Audubon. The two changes are slated in 2012, as follows:
(1) schools will run K-5, 6-8, 9-12 (instead of current K-6, 7-9, 10-12) AND
(2) Bell students will go to Finn Hill Jr. High and Juanita HS (instead of Kirkland Jr. High and Lake WA HS) while Redmond's Audubon students will be coming to Rose Hill Jr. High and LWHS. These changes were initiated as a result of the need to address a boom in student enrollment.
Now to the fuming part....
Bell Elementary parents were notified via a memo in their children's backpack after the decision had already been voted on and passed. I've heard the principal didn't even find out until 4 hrs prior to the parents.
One Bell parent says,
"We were not included in meetings where this was discussed. This is a neighborhood filled with families who have specifically moved into the area to send their children to AG Bell, KJH, and LWHS but we were given no voice in this."Some are worried about their property values and are left wondering why their kids would have to walk by KJH in order to get bussed to Finn Hill JH. Bell students also already have friends and connections from their sports teams that align into the same feeder schools. Another Bell parent takes a hard stand stating,
"I expect as a tax paying citizen in this district that this decision will be revoked until the community has a chance to repeal with alternative solutions."Dr. Chip Kimball, LWSD Superintendent has stated,
“If we don’t make any changes, we will need over 100 portable classrooms at the elementary level and about 28 at the secondary level to house the expected enrollment and to provide space for all-day kindergarten in the next five years. Changing feeder patterns reduces the need at the secondary level."Dr. Kimball expressed great empathy when I asked him about this situation, but said with the way the population is spread and the overcrowding they are faced with, there just aren't any viable alternatives. He knows this is really tough and plans to be holding meetings at the impacted schools this month.
So, here's what you can do:
- Go ahead and comment/discuss here (http://www.kirklandweblog.com/) to share ideas and chat about it-
- Concerned families should attend the LWSD Regular Board Meeting on Monday, 5/17, 5:30pm. Location is: Redmond Town Center District offices: 16250 NE 74th St, Redmond. No Public Comments will be taken at this Meeting.
- OR watch the meeting LIVE (or archived the next day) at this link. (It's not necessary to download Silverlight. LIVE meetings sometimes begin up to 12 minutes late. Wait for the sign-in button)
- Affected families will rally on Thursday 5/20 at 6:30pm in the AG Bell Gymnasium/11212 NE 112th St, Kirkland
- Send a note to the communications office or to Dr. Kimball care of firstname.lastname@example.org
This abridged posting is courtesy of the Kirkland Weblog Contact Kathryn Reith at LWSD or the Kirkland Weblog editor Jan Rabuchin to confirm meeting times. B. Yoder