Plan would cut Marysville graduation requirements

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District could lower the number of credits seniors need to graduate this year under a proposal school board member Mark Johnson plans to introduce to his colleagues on Monday.

Many seniors have said they are worried about how long the school year will stretch into the summer because of the 49-day teachers strike, and fear it will interfere with college, summer jobs and other plans.

Classes began Wednesday and could stretch well into July.

Under Johnson’s proposal, the district would lower the number of credits seniors need to graduate from the district-required 22 1/2 to the state-required 19.

As a result, some seniors could finish their coursework at the end of the first semester, which could be in March, depending on how the calendar is set.

"Why should you punish the kids?" Johnson said.

Seniors would still be offered 175 days of school, which is the state requirement.

Johnson said his proposal would include an additional academic requirement that would keep seniors on campus until June. He did not have a formal proposal on what that requirement would entail Friday night.

"It’s something I want to look into. I’m not willing to commit," said Erik Olson, another school board member. "I need to see the implications. I don’t want to shortchange them on their education while trying to get them out early."

Terry Bergeson, the state superintendent of public instruction, said Friday she will contact representatives of the Marysville district and teachers to see if there is any assistance her office can provide to help seniors with their school year.

Bergeson, in Lynnwood for a state Board of Education meeting, said she needs to talk to Marysville officials before offering any help.

The school board isn’t alone in looking for ways to get seniors out of school before midsummer.

State Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, has said he will offer legislation that would allow districts to shorten the school year when extraordinary circumstances occur. Those could include a prolonged teachers strike or a natural disaster.

If the bill passes during the next session of the Legislature, the Marysville board could vote on it this winter or spring and have it apply to the 2003-2004 school year.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or

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