Salem-Keizer School Board Discusses Boundary Adjustments, Hears First Reading of Adjustment Proposal

The Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) Board of Education discussed the Boundary Review Task Force’s recommendations for boundary adjustments at work session on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.

Co-chairs of the Boundary Review Task Force Adriana Miranda and Adam Kohler answered questions about the proposal from Board members and shared some history of Task Force conversations that led to the changes included in the proposal. The proposal includes adjustments at 23 elementary schools, six middle schools and four high schools to create balanced enrollments across high school feeder systems and prepare schools for future enrollment growth. The recommendations also reduce the number of schools that split to advance to different middle and high schools from nine splits to six.

At the meeting, staff presented a recommendation to modify the existing continuity exemption and the implementation of the new boundaries. The recommendation would implement the new boundaries at all grades at the elementary level, with the continuity exemption for students entering grades 4 and 5 modified to include bus transportation. The existing continuity exemption would apply to middle school students entering 8th grade, exempt for Stephens and Waldo middle schools where the new boundaries would apply to incoming 6th grade students. Similarly, the new boundaries would apply for incoming 9th grade students at McNary, McKay, North and South. West and Sprague High Schools are not affected by the boundary adjustments.

“For some families, a continuity exemption without transportation is not an option,” said Superintendent Perry. “This modification helps our families that would struggle the most to adjust to new boundaries.”

The Boundary Review Task Force recommendation also urges the Board to consider adding capital construction project to add space at Miller and Kennedy Elementary Schools.

The Board also heard public comment on the boundary adjustments from four community members after its work session.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on all recommendations at its Feb. 12, 2019 meeting. If approved by the Board, the new boundaries would go into effect in fall 2019.

The recommendation is the result of the work of the Boundary Review Task Force, a group of 45 community members who together created a boundary adjustment proposal to balance enrollments across all Salem-Keizer high school feeder systems.

Thanks to the community’s passage of a bond in May, SKPS will invest $619.7 million in Salem and Keizer in the form of school expansions, renovations and improvements over the next five to six years. Boundary adjustments will shift students away from crowded conditions and into these new, improved learning environments.

Maps and descriptions of proposed change areas along with the presentation to the School Board can be found on the district website on the Boundary Adjustments webpage.

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