AP NEWS

Mount Vernon School District works on boundaries

March 16, 2019
Mount Vernon's Harriet Rowley Elementary School.

MOUNT VERNON — As the Mount Vernon School District begins a second round of community discussions regarding new boundaries for its elementary and middle schools, it hopes its two new proposals will garner positive feedback.

The boundaries are being evaluated ahead of the 2019-2020 school year, when Harriet Rowley Elementary School will open to students in its area, Lincoln Elementary School will close and Madison Elementary School will reopen.

“This is a big decision,” Assistant Superintendent Bill Nutting said at a Tuesday meeting at Centennial Elementary School. “And an important decision.”

Each of the district’s proposals has been designed with safety, efficiency and equity in mind, Nutting said.

The goal, the district has said, is to have each of its six elementary schools match the ethnic and socioeconomic demographics of the district and community.

Two options were discussed at an October community meeting, but after feedback from the community, the district went back to the drawing board and came up with new options, Nutting said.

“It didn’t look fair,” Nutting said.

The district also realized the enrollment numbers it was using for those early options were not up to date.

Using the actual enrollment numbers, Harriet Rowley Elementary would have been over its capacity next year.

Four new options were created, Nutting said. In two of those options, the district was not fully utilizing Little Mountain Elementary School, so those were eliminated from consideration.

The biggest difference between the remaining two new options is whether the 100 students who live in the Mobile Manor trailer park area off North 30th Street and who currently attend Centennial Elementary — as well as those who live near Madison Elementary — would attend Centennial Elementary or Harriet Rowley Elementary.

The district’s previous proposals had those students continuing to attend Centennial Elementary.

Madison Elementary is a dual-language school and accepts students from throughout the district, so students who live close to the school — but do not attend it — go to one of the district’s nearby schools.

Under proposal B-3, the students in the Mobile Manor area would continue to attend Centennial Elementary, while in proposal B-4 those students would attend Harriet Rowley Elementary.

Because of the size of Harriet Rowley Elementary, both proposals would ease crowding at each of the other elementary schools.

Washington Elementary School — which will be the district’s smallest school once Lincoln Elementary is closed — will drop from 420 students to 368.

Centennial, Jefferson, Little Mountain and Harriet Rowley will have between 435 and 522 students, Nutting said.

Because crowding would be eased districtwide, the district would look at discontinuing the use of some portable classrooms at some of its schools, namely Little Mountain Elementary, Nutting said.

Under both new proposals, students at Centennial, Madison and Washington would go on to attend LaVenture Middle School, and students at Jefferson, Little Mountain and Harriet Rowley would go on to Mount Baker Middle School.

The district will host two more community meetings regarding the boundaries: 6:30 p.m. March 25 at Jefferson Elementary School, and 6:30 p.m. March 26 at Little Mountain Elementary School.

For more information, visit the district’s website at mountvernonschools.org.