Principal Dave Peters holds the door for students exiting first lunch Monday morning at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on Jan. 22. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Principal Dave Peters holds the door for students exiting first lunch Monday morning at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek on Jan. 22. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)

Got a pen? Help redraw boundaries for Everett high schools

Three meetings give the public a chance to weigh in as district tackles overcrowding.

EVERETT — The challenging task of redrawing boundary lines for Everett School District high schools enters a public phase next week.

School district leaders are looking to ease persistent overcrowding at Jackson High School by revising its enrollment boundaries as well as those for students attending Cascade and Everett high schools.

Forums are planned next week at each campus so students, parents and others can make their ideas and concerns known to a special panel charged with making recommendations to Everett schools Superintendent Gary Cohn.

Those attending the forum will also be encouraged to weigh in on other steps contemplated to deal with growing enrollment, such as adding portable classrooms and changing schedules.

All of these subjects were discussed in community meetings in May. Comments led district directors to create the 30-person High School Growth Mitigation Planning Committee to focus on boundary changes.

“We want to let them have pretty much free rein on what they do,” said Mike Gunn, the district’s executive director of facilities and operations.

The public forums are set for Tuesday at Jackson High, Wednesday at Cascade High, and Thursday at Everett High. Each will begin at 6 p.m. in the respective school’s cafeteria.

The committee will draw on input from those sessions and another round early next year before submitting its ideas to Cohn by March 31, 2019.

School district leaders are in this position because not enough voters supported a $330.6 million bond measure on the February ballot. It contained money to construct a new high school, the district’s fourth, that would have opened in 2022. The measure garnered 55.4 percent but needed at least 60 percent to pass. A similar bond measure failed in 2014.

Henry M. Jackson High School is packed. It was nearly 380 students over capacity last school year and it isn’t any more roomy this year. The district expects Cascade High School to become more crowded in the coming years, as well.

A boundary change could move about 375 students from Jackson to Cascade High School and another 375 from Cascade to Everett High School.

If portable classrooms are used, another 13 would be needed at Jackson by 2023, on top of the 17 already there, Gunn said. Seven portables also might be needed at Cascade in the next five years.

Schedule changes could take the form of double-shifting, staggered starts or year-round school.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Meetings

Everett School District forums on high school boundary changes:

6 p.m. Tuesday, Jackson High School cafeteria

6 p.m. Wednesday, Cascade High School cafeteria

6 p.m. Thursday, Everett High School cafeteria

Meetings are slated to run 90 minutes.

Information can be found online at www.everettsd.org.

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