New school boundaries could shift hundreds of students from Jackson to Cascade High School and others from Cascade to Everett High School. (Everett Public Schools)

New school boundaries could shift hundreds of students from Jackson to Cascade High School and others from Cascade to Everett High School. (Everett Public Schools)

Shifting boundaries: Everett unveils draft high school lines

The district will be providing information and gathering comments at forums Feb. 6 and 7.

EVERETT — A committee tasked with resetting high school boundaries is inching closer to recommendations that could move hundreds of students in the Everett School District to different campuses.

A set of preliminary proposals has been posted on the district’s website. They can be found at www.everettsd.org/Page/26839.

In early February, parents, students and others will have a chance to express their opinions at a couple of forums. The boundary committee will review the feedback and is expected to make its final recommendation to the Everett School Board by March 31. The school board is supposed to decide on the issue by next fall.

Any changes would not take effect until the fall of 2020 and would not affect seniors.

At issue is how to absorb enrollment growth in the south end of the district. Henry M. Jackson High School is about 375 students over capacity. It’s absorbing the overflow with 17 portables. Three new classroom portables are expected to land on the tennis courts next fall with more on the horizon.

The idea has been to shift hundreds of students from Jackson to Cascade High School and others from Cascade to Everett High School. The 30-member committee — composed of parents, students and administrators — was formed last summer.

In general terms, preliminary recommendations suggest moving students living in neighborhoods south of 132nd SE and east of 35th Avenue near Thomas Lake from Jackson to Cascade.

Students in the Pinehurst and Valley View neighborhoods and living near Jefferson Elementary School would be the most likely to be moved from Cascade to Everett, according to the preliminary maps.

Mike Gunn, the school district’s executive director of facilities and operations, cautioned that no recommendations have been made to the school board. He said the boundary committee is at its halfway point and he called the proposals “a work in progress.”

The district will be providing information and gathering comments at forums Feb. 6 at Gateway Middle School and Feb. 7 at Cascade. Both sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes and begin at 6 p.m.

There has been keen interest in the work of the boundary committee. At one meeting at Jackson in November, roughly 120 people showed up.

The district has been considering asking voters to consider a bond measure for new schools in 2020. That would include another comprehensive high school in the south end. Even if that tax proposal were to pass, it’s likely high school boundaries would need to be changed in the interim.

“If a bond passes it is at least four years before you open a school,” Superintendent Gary Cohn said.

Voters didn’t pass a $330.6 million bond measure on the February 2018 ballot, which would have gone toward building a new high school. The measure garnered 55.4 percent but needed 60 percent to pass.

Based on enrollment projections, the district also is likely to need two more elementary schools “sooner than later,” Cohn said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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