New ‘ABC 4 Highline’ group wants to have a say in Highline School boundaries


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A new group calling itself the ‘Alternate Boundary Committee’ or ‘ABC 4 Highline‘ was formed recently, “because parents, educators and community members had concerns and questions regarding the Highline School District’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee’s (CFAC) Proposal for Boundary Line Changes once they were released to the public,” according to a statement.

Here’s more info from Organizer Yvonne Nutting:

Many of us attended the community meetings CFAC and the School District put on. These meetings were set up with a brief introduction of who CFAC is and that they were asked to put together a draft boundary line change proposal. Then they dismissed us to meet with individual CFAC members at boundary line maps located around the room. Many parents and community members we spoke with were perplexed with this format. We had all come to find out why the boundaries and feeder schools were changed to the locations they were. Unfortunately, we have yet to receive an answer other than, “School boundaries and feeder patters need to be adjusted to address overcrowding in current schools and to accommodate a 5th middle school and a new, larger elementary school opening in fall 2019.” And that they “followed 4 guiding principles: ensure equity, forecast for future needs, value cohorts & Community connections and a plan for safety.” At these meetings CFAC and the School District differed us to their community feedback survey.  They specifically ask “What solution do you propose that aligns better with the guiding principles?” and “Tell us what you think.”

Okay, let’s provide feedback following their guiding principles… Looking at the original maps they showed no data on school capacities or population. So, we started asking for that data. It is extremely challenging, as it turns out, to get data from the School District. But we persisted. Through the course of asking the district and CFAC questions groups of parents and community members started coming together, asking the same questions and finding a common bond, to come up with an Alternate Boundary Line and Feeder School Plan that would meet the needs of the entire district. Pockets of communities began reaching out to us and seeking us out at the CFAC community meetings and we formally met twice outside of the CFAC community meetings. At our meetings we sat at one table and openly discussed our concerns. Plans started forming and we began diving deeper into the data, spending countless hours weeding through and compiling school capacity numbers, historical enrollment numbers, projected enrollment numbers, class size reduction data, resident populations and the like. More and more communities began reaching out to us and we decided we should probably call ourselves something…so the Alternate Boundary Committee for Highline (ABC 4 Highline) was born.

The ABC believes that the CFAC plan has more changes than necessary. While adding a 5th middle school is a difficult task, keeping communities together, throughout the district, is essential.  The transitions to both middle and high school are already difficult.  We want to give all our children the best opportunity for success. We believe our plan meets the guidelines and creates fewer changes across the entire district. Our alternative plan not only helps elementary schools stay together from K-12, but 80% of the middle schools will feed to the dedicated high school. This allows students to forge new groups of friends that will continue through high school. The Highline School Board has made it clear that the CFAC proposal is still a draft and not in its final state. Community feedback will be a critical component of the Board’s decision.

The headings below follow the exact core 4 guidelines that CFAC has been using in making their decisions.

Benefits of the ABC plan include:

Ensure Equity for All Communities 

  • Takes a district-wide approach
  • Includes feedback from over 200+ community members (and counting!)
  • Maintains established Somalian community ties
  • Keeps kids within their city boundaries; ensuring eligibility for city scholarships for after school programs

Value Cohorts & Community Connections

  • Keeps multiple elementary cohorts (minimum of two) together through Middle and High School
  • Minimizes the number of students who would need to change schools as compared to the CFAC plan
  • Enhances a student’s ability to attend before and after school programs (i.e. sports, study groups, church activities, etc.)
  • Allows students to build deeper community by keeping more students together through their entire school career
  • Ensures continuity for students currently enrolled in dual continuity programs

Forecast for Future Needs

  • Uses Highline School District’s growth projections by community and school
  • Leverages current and planned capital improvements
  • Takes city boundaries into account regarding growth

Plan for Safety

  • Minimizes driving distance for parents and buses
  • Reduces the number of students crossing (walking, driving and/or being bussed) across major arterials and high traffic areas
  • Keeps students connected to their local community members
  • Allows parents faster access to their students in case of illness
  • Minimizes public transportation travel times and transfers for students (i.e. McKinney-Vento students, students who miss the bus, etc.)

Additional Benefits

  • Simplifies & aligns bus routes to optimize the Middle & High School bus sharing (where possible)
  • Ensures continuity of language programs from Middle through High School

ABC’s proposed school boundary line changes can be viewed on our website: www.ABC4Highline.com

CFAC’s proposed school boundary line changes can be viewed on their website. www.highlineschools.org/boundaries

We are encouraging the community to review the CFAC proposed boundary line changes and compare them to ABC’s proposed boundary line changes and then complete the CFAC Boundary Line Change Survey.

Survey Link: https://www.highlineschools.org//cms/module/selectsurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=387

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