Students during the Marysville Pilchuck High School class of 2018 commencement at Angel of the Winds Arena last June 13. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Students during the Marysville Pilchuck High School class of 2018 commencement at Angel of the Winds Arena last June 13. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville schools focus on diversity, enrollment, buildings

People can apply to three groups — one would help create a bond measure to fund school renovations.

MARYSVILLE — Leaders in the Marysville School District are looking for ideas on several fronts.

They’re seeking advice on how best to enroll students at the district’s two large comprehensive high schools. They could use recommendations on what to do about the district’s aging buildings. And they want the district to feel more inviting to students and families of diverse backgrounds.

The district has formed three different groups to address these concerns. Now it needs people to join them.

Students, staff and families of Marysville schools are encouraged to apply, although anyone can. The teams would brainstorm ideas, then bring their suggestions to district leaders.

The committee topics came from more than a year of public surveys. Nearly half of those who participated said they were not satisfied with the district.

Part of the study focused on how to make the public school system welcoming for everybody. The goal was to hear from families with experiences and perspectives that may not often be represented, said Deborah Parker, the district’s director of equity, diversity and indigenous education.

“We are really looking to bring in that voice that hasn’t always been here at the district,” Parker said. “We are looking for people of all different backgrounds to come forward.”

The diversity team would review policy, student performance, discipline data and more, then bring any suggested changes to the superintendent and board of directors.

School leaders also hope to decide on the best way to enroll students at Marysville Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools. Since Getchell opened in 2010, kids have been able to choose which campus they go to. Getchell was home to four small learning communities, but the district dropped that teaching model last summer.

This year’s incoming freshmen still decided which school to attend. They likely won’t be forced to move once a system is decided upon, said Scott Beebe, the district’s assistant superintendent.

The enrollment group would help find a solution by spring 2020, said Jodi Runyon, the district’s director of engagement and outreach. The district is open to ideas. It is not saying from the outset that future enrollment at the two schools would be determined by neighborhoods or other geographic boundaries.

District enrollment has been declining for the past 10 years. The committee may take that into consideration and predict how that could affect the future, Runyon said.

The third team would make recommendations for a bond measure to be on the ballot in about a year. Money from that would go toward building renovations. Runyon said no decisions have been made about what might appear in a bond proposal.

The district last passed a bond measure in 2006. That money went toward building Marysville Getchell as well as Grove Elementary School.

Another proposal for building improvements was on the ballot a few years ago. It was for $230 million to replace and renovate multiple schools. It needed 60 percent to pass, but received just over half.

A facility master plan outlines what buildings need to be restored. According to that document, about $5 million worth of renovations should be taken care of immediately.

The biggest expense is $1.5 million for a roof at Marysville Pilchuck. In all, that school’s urgent improvements total nearly $2.5 million.

Those interested in helping with any of the three committees — equity and diversity, enrollment and demographics, and the facility task force — can inquire online. No experience is necessary, but it may be helpful for people working on the bond to be familiar with building trades, school financing, levies and related topics, Runyon said.

Applications are being accepted now for the first two groups, and those members should be chosen by next month. Bond-planning sign-ups aren’t open yet, but are expected to be in a few weeks.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Learn more

Information and applications are available on the Marysville School District website, at msd25.org/committee-opportunities.

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