School Boundary Changes
Over the past several months, the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC) has been working on formulating a plan to recommend to PPS to manage district wide growth and better distribute enrollment across schools. PPS and DBRAC have been looking for solutions to relieve current or anticipated overcrowding at Chapman and Capitol Hill Elementary Schools, Lincoln High School and Hayhurst Elementary school. The initial goal was to implement boundary changes for the 2016/2017 school year, but that may be pushed back to 2017/2018 for some changes.
This past October, two scenarios were released for public input that showed minimal changes to school boundaries for Southwest Hills residents (final recommendations from DBRAC are due to the PPS Superintendent by late January). However, on January 9 a brand new West Side scenario for boundary changes was presented to the public that were major shifts to boundaries throughout the Southwest neighborhoods. This new 2A Scenario included: shifting some Chapman students to Ainsworth, shifting some Ainsworth students to Rieke and Bridlemile (the southern side of the Ainsworth boundary would be redistricted, affecting OHSU, Council Crest, Healy Heights and Greenhills families), shifting some Rieke to Bridlemile, shifting some Bridlemile and Rieke to Hayhurst, shifting some Maplewood to Hayhurst, moving the Odyssey program out of Hayhurst, shifting some Capitol Hill to Stephenson. This domino effect of shifting portions of students throughout six neighborhood schools was met with strong opposition from the families impacted. At the January 14 DBRAC meeting, the committee heard public comments from SW neighborhood parents and acknowledged the concerns regarding the new west side scenario. DBRAC was open to hearing possible other options to the 2A West Side boundary scenarios.
At the meeting, an alternative option was brought up of moving the entire Ainsworth Spanish Immersion program to another location such as East Sylvan (an unused small school building), plus moving all of Bridlemile to the Wilson High School cluster. Many of the parents at the DBRAC meeting also voiced a concern that more time needs to be given to work on the West Side options, not just the less than 2 weeks' time given to DBRAC to make a final recommendation based on the current schedule. The West Side is experiencing tremendous growth, and families are concerned that PPS needs to take into consideration planning for long-term solutions, not just providing band aid solutions that will be inadequate down the road.
What are the next steps in the process? According to the information (as of January 15) provided by PPS:
- Final West Side Boundary Community Input Meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 6pm to 7:30pm at Wilson High School
- Late January: DBRAC provides final recommendations for boundary changes to Superintendent Carole Smith
- End of January/early February: Superintendent Carole Smith reviews the DBRAC recommendations and creates a final proposal to present to the Portland School Board
- February: Board considers proposal, takes additional public comment. Potential board vote on final growth management plan.