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Westside Community School District could set new boundary lines for three schools

Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 18:24:55-05

Swanson, Loveland and Sunset Hills could see new boundaries next school year. Parents said they are concerned about safety when it comes to students getting to school because they will have to cross busy streets. "I think it's a bad situation for them to put these kids in,” said Loveland Elementary parent, Janet Berry-Johnson.

District spokesperson, Brandi Paul, said they need new boundaries, mainly because Sunset Hills Elementary has opened. Parents said their children will have to cross busy intersections every day. “A lot of our school children would either be walking across 90th Street or if your children go to Sunset Hills you would be having to cross Pacific to get to school every day,” said Berry-Johnson. “It creates a major safety concern for anyone crossing that, let alone elementary age kids,” said Loveland Elementary parent, Josh Yambor.

Paul understands where the parents are coming from. “We don't have anything set yet, we wanna hear from our public what they think, we also wanna continue talking with the city to find out what they think would be the safest for our students and our staff, we are also keeping the option of busing on the table,” she said.

Paul said the other main reason for the new boundaries is to even out class sizes. Parents question if that even is a problem. “There's not high-density housing being installed in our neighborhood,” said Berry-Johnson. “These boundaries have been in place since 1962 and it hasn't been a problem for 56 years, but suddenly over five years it's gonna be a massive problem,” said Yambor.

Paul said currently Sunset Hills is sitting half empty. ”It doesn't make sense to have 18 kids in one class and in a building across town have 23,24, 25 students, we want to make sure every classroom is providing equitable opportunity,” said Paul. Parents said class sizes seem to be bigger at Sunset Hills compared to Swanson and Loveland. “I know there are families in the Loveland and Swanson areas that have opted into Sunset, because of the remodel and it’s a fantastic school,” said Yambor.

Parents said at the end of the day they feel a sense of community at their schools, and they think the district needs to prove there is a reason to redraw the lines. “If their numbers play out and all the sudden we have overcrowded classrooms, at Loveland and Swanson and Sunset Hills is sitting half empty I think a lot of parents would be happy to send their kids to a smaller class size,” said Berry-Johnson.

There's no plan is in place, but the district will make a proposal to the Board of Education next month or in January. If the board votes yes and changes boundaries parents affected will be notified.