Marysville Getchell High School (Herald file)

Marysville Getchell High School (Herald file)

Marysville proposal eliminates Getchell’s 4 mini-high schools

The reasons are many to shift to standard boundary-based enrollment, the superintendent says.

MARSYVILLE — Where you go to high school in Marysville might soon be decided by your address.

District leaders have been considering changes at Marysville’s two large high schools since 2016. The proposal to shift from choice to boundary-based schools has been controversial.

Students currently choose whether to attend one of four programs at Marysville Getchell or go to Marysville Pilchuck, a comprehensive high school. The proposed change would form two comprehensive schools with enrollment based on where students live.

Superintendent Jason Thompson presented his recommendation to the board Monday. Thompson was appointed interim superintendent after Becky Berg stepped down in May.

A vote on his plan could come at the board’s Aug. 6 meeting.

The district introduced small learning communities at Marysville Pilchuck in 2007, but that program didn’t last. The Marysville Getchell campus was built with small learning communities in mind, and houses the School for the Entrepreneur, Academy of Construction and Engineering, BioMed Academy and International School for Communications.

The board asked about budgetary differences between small learning communities and comprehensive high schools and for a detailed timeline ahead of the vote.

Enrollment in the district has been dropping. Staffing cuts over the past couple of years eliminated 13 positions at the secondary level, saving more than $2 million in annual costs, according to Thompson’s report to the board. That included reducing the number of principals, assistant principals and other positions related to small learning communities.

“Enrollment and demographics are always changing, and the perception in the community … (is that) our district has been growing when in reality our enrollment has been in a steady decline for years,” Thompson wrote.

Small learning communities are not financially viable, he concluded.

That’s one reason for suggesting the change. Others include a need for equal opportunity and diversity at both campuses. Marysville’s population is becoming more culturally and economically diverse. District leaders expect that soon the schools will not have a majority of any one ethnicity.

Also, changes in graduation requirements, namely an increase in the number of credits needed from 20 to 24, “adds additional stress to an already stressed system and played a major consideration in our recommendation,” Thompson wrote.

There would be an in-district waiver process to provide options for students, but most would go to their neighborhood school. Students currently enrolled in the school of their choice would not have to change campuses. Existing alternative high school programs are expected to continue.

High school boundaries would need to be established through an extensive public process, according to the district. The recommendation is to form a committee to draft boundaries with feeder schools, so that students go to the same high school as their peers from elementary and middle school.

Thompson’s plan also calls for two new permanent committees of staff, parents and students. One group would take a hard look at enrollment and demographics. The other would focus on instruction and programs to make school engaging and purposeful. That type of education, Thompson wrote, was the original purpose of small learning communities.

The district’s research turned up concerns about middle schools, as well. Families feel they are crowded and unsafe, according to the report. Many choose to leave the district. The report notes a need to update rundown middle school buildings and focus on behavioral programs and increased supervision, particularly during out-of-class time such as passing periods.

“While we do recommend we focus our efforts around instructional and cultural issues at the middle school level, the facilities question really can only be solved with a future bond to replace the aging facilities,” Thompson wrote.

Voters in the district have not passed a bond in 12 years.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Traffic’s creeping back and some transit to collect fares again

Community Transit and Sound Transit are set to resume fares June 1, but not Everett Transit.

Neil Hubbard plays the bagpipes in front of a memorial at Floral Hills cemetery in Lynnwood Monday morning. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Memorial Day tradition continues in Lynnwood amid pandemic

Loved ones placed flags at Floral Hills cemetery as bagpipes played in the distance Monday morning.

COVID-19 and domestic violence

Public Health Essentials! A blog by the Snohomish Health District.

Counting COVID deaths isn’t as simple as you might think

State relies on results of tests and death certificates in calculating the daily toll of the disease.

Stillaguamish Tribe gives $1M to food banks, fire services

“I had to do a double take,” said the director of the Stanwood Camano Food Bank, which received $300,000.

Island County gets go-ahead for Phase 2 of reopening economy

People can gather in groups five or fewer. Some businesses can open, if they follow guidelines.

The town the virus seemed to miss: No cases counted in Index

Some in the town of 175 fear outsiders could bring in the virus. Others just want things to get back to normal.

Worst jobless rate in the state: Snohomish County at 20.2%

In April, 91,383 were unemployed in the county. The aerospace sector was hit especially hard.

Boeing worker accused of murder after Everett party shooting

Police say the suspect, 35, made sexual advances and opened fire when he was turned down.

Most Read