School board member Paul Galovin (left) talks with City Councilman Kelly Richards and others about school boundaries. (Marysville Globe)

School board member Paul Galovin (left) talks with City Councilman Kelly Richards and others about school boundaries. (Marysville Globe)

Boundaries a big question mark in Marysville schools

Some residents are unhappy with the school board’s recommendations.

By The Marysville Globe

The school board for the Marysville School District wants equity in its schools.

But while that might sound good in theory, the reality for residents is that some of it just doesn’t make sense.

For example, at a meeting last week at Marysville Getchell High School attended by about 100 people, many who live in the Sunnyside area were upset because their students are now set to attend Marysville Pilchuck.

Currently those students go to MG, which is closer, for one thing. However, assistant superintendent Scott Beebe explained that to make the schools equitable — especially from a poverty standpoint — the Sunnyside students should go to M-P.

As for proximity, he said M-P is only 1½ miles farther away.

Another boundary issue that has been criticized is while most young students will still attend their neighborhood elementary school, there will be changes at the three middle schools. Some students at Liberty will be bused north to Cedarcrest instead of going to Marysville Middle, almost across the street. Meanwhile, students at Cascade will be bused south to MMS, instead of attending Cedarcrest, which is closer. That decision was made to bring more equity in the high schools, Beebe said. He emphasized that a committee that met 13 times came up with the recommendations, but the school board is listening to public input for possible changes.

A decision would need to be made by March 2 to implement them by the next school year in September.

“No decision has made been,” Beebe said. “That’s a myth.”

He said no boundary changes are recommended for the elementary schools, but that could change if voters pass a Feb. 11 levy allowing new larger ones to be built at Liberty and Cascade. Superintendent Jason Thompson said some people are “madder than mad” about the boundaries, but still plan to vote for the levy because schools are needed so badly.

At the middle and high school levels, goals were to improve diversity and equity in economics, race, special education and other factors. Course offerings would be the same at both high schools, including Advanced Placement and Career Technical Education courses.

“There will be honors courses at all schools,” Beebe said. “That’s a bad rumor.”

“We didn’t want one high school to be the ‘haves,’ and the other the ‘have nots,’” Thompson said.

Thompson said even with both schools offering the same thing, instruction costs will go down compared to when MG had Small Learning Communities and four schools needed staffing.

The district also wanted to even out enrollment. MG now has 1,500 students and M-P 1,000. With the redrawn boundaries, MG only has 42 more.

Making bus rides shorter was another goal. Thompson said that’s one reason the district loses students to other schools.

As for in-district transfers, Thompson said that still can be done on an individual basis.

Students now attending high school will be “grandfathered in” to keep going to their same schools.

Feeder schools

Totem: Marshall, Quil Ceda Tulalip, Sunnyside

Marysville: Grove, Allen Creek, Cascade, Shoultes

Cedarcrest: Pinewood, Kellogg-Marsh, Liberty

Marysville Getchell: (Cedarcrest, MMS) Pinewood, K-M, Liberty, Allen Creek, Grove

Marysville Pilchuck: (Totem, MMS) Marshall, Cascade, Sunnyside, Shoultes, Quil Ceda

This story originally appeared in The Marysville Globe, a sister publication to the Herald.

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