The board has moved three options forward to a public input process through December
BATTLE GROUND — A divided Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors is moving ahead with three options for dealing with the district’s overcrowded southern schools.
Earlier this month, the board was presented with four potential options to help reduce issues with overcrowded schools, such as Glenwood Heights Primary, Laurin Middle School and Pleasant Valley Elementary Primary. After a work session on Nov. 19, the board eliminated the fourth alternative, Move In-Move Out, which would have utilized Maple Grove K-8 to reduce pressure on the other schools. They suggested some slight changes to the other three options, which were outlined at last Monday’s school board meeting.
“I like the idea of three,” said board member Mavis Nickels. “I think we need as much community input as we can get.”
She was joined by two other board members, though two said they hoped to pair the choices down further before heading to the public feedback period.
“I see both sides, but our job probably would be a little easier if we only had two options,” said board member Tina Lambert. “It’s going to be a difficult job either way.”
The district is dealing with the aftermath of a second failure earlier this year to get a $224.9 million building bond approved by voters. It would have created a new K-8 school in the fast-growing southern part of the district, as well as new buildings at Glenwood/Laurin and Pleasant Valley.
As a result, the board authorized the creation of a 29-member Overcrowding Committee, comprised of parents, teachers, administration, and staff, to come up with alternatives. Four were presented to the board, then paired down to the three that were approved for consideration this week.
The first two, Southern Shift and Maple Grove K-4 Conversion were the most popular with the board. After some debate they will also include a third option known as N.E.W. Boundaries, which would be the most radical of the options being considered (see maps for details).
“Right now we have an imbalance in our primary schools, because our primary schools have five grades of students and our middle schools have four grades of students,” Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters told the board. “So when we make any kind of boundary shift, and we shift students to Daybreak, or to Tukes, if we move enough to fill the middle school we end up overcrowding the primary school.”
The school district will now spend December and the first part of January seeking public input on the options through a series of informational forums:
- 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 5 at Laurin Middle School, 13601 NE 97th Ave., Vancouver
- 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 12 at Maple Grove School, 610 SW Eaton Blvd.
- 6 p.m. Wed., Jan. 9 at Daybreak campus, 1900 NW 20th Ave.
Anyone who can’t make it to one of the public forums can review the options on the district website and provide feedback via an online feedback survey that will be open Dec. 5 through Jan. 9. The board anticipates making a decision about boundary changes at one of its regular meetings in January.
Depending on the option, the schools impacted include Captain Strong Primary and Chief Umtuch Middle, Daybreak Primary and Middle, Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle, Maple Grove K-8, Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle, and Tukes Valley Primary and Middle schools.