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Battle Ground School Board seeks input on overcrowding options

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.

Battle Ground Schools Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters walks through the latest proposals to deal with overcrowding in the district. Photo by Chris Brown
Battle Ground Schools Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters walks through the latest proposals to deal with overcrowding in the district. Photo by Chris Brown

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.”

The Battle Ground School Board listens as Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters walks through updated boundary proposals to deal with overcrowding in the district. Photo by Chris Brown
The Battle Ground School Board listens as Deputy Superintendent Denny Waters walks through updated boundary proposals to deal with overcrowding in the district. Photo by Chris Brown

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.”

This map shows proposed boundaries to shift students from crowded schools in the southern part of the Battle Ground School District to other schools to the north. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools
This map shows proposed boundaries to shift students from crowded schools in the southern part of the Battle Ground School District to other schools to the north. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools

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.

This map shows proposed boundaries to reduce overcrowding at southern schools in the Battle Ground School District by making Maple Grove a K-4 school and having Laurin become a 5-8 school. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools
This map shows proposed boundaries to reduce overcrowding at southern schools in the Battle Ground School District by making Maple Grove a K-4 school and having Laurin become a 5-8 school. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools

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.”

This map shows shows one of three options being considered to address overcrowding at southern schools in the Battle Ground School District. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools
This map shows shows one of three options being considered to address overcrowding at southern schools in the Battle Ground School District. Image courtesy Battle Ground Public Schools

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.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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