No Islands in Lake Washington School District
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Dear LWSD Boundary Committee:
First, we want to thank you for all the efforts you have put into school boundary planning (https://tinyurl.com/redmond-boundary-review It is a complicated and challenging process and many factors need to be evaluated. The time and effort you spend will impact our community for years to come.
However, after reviewing the candidate scenarios proposed on 09/25, we have big concerns regarding the decision of creating an island and its long term impact. In all four scenarios, a big island near Avondale road is allocated to a remote school three miles away. This is vastly against the major principle of deciding school boundaries: proximity of schools and homes.
Islands are extremely bad because:
- It deprives precious sleeping/family time from the students who need to be transported to remote schools.
- It causes unnecessary commute for the parents if they choose to transport the students to schools themselves.
- It creates a big traffic problem for the community and make the already-bad traffic situation in Avondale even worse.
- It wastes school district resources on transporting kids unnecessarily to remote schools.
- It creates unnecessary social barriers between the non-island students who can go to a nearby school and the island students who are forced to go to a remote school.
We understand that sometimes temporary islands are unavoidable due to dramatic changes in population density. However, the boundary redesign is exactly the opportunity to REMOVE the temporary islands rather than introducing new ones.
We do not believe the following considerations behind creating islands are sound or solid.
- Population density in certain areas makes no islands impossible. In fact, school districts with much higher density, like the Bellevue School District (https://tinyurl.com/bellevue-no-islands and the Seattle School District (https://tinyurl.com/seattle-no-islands have no islands.
- High free-lunch rate in Einstein. The solution to this problem should be sending needed students to nearby schools with lower free-lunch rates instead of sending them to a very remote one.
- High enrollment in schools near the island. The exact goal of the boundary redesign is to rebalance capacity/enrollment among neighboring schools.
- Impact fewer students. More students can stay in the same school after the boundary change. This is a valid concern. However, it should not be the major principle to consider during boundary redesign. The impact on current students is short term and can be easily compensated by grandfathering them. But the impact on the island students is long term and can not be compensated in the years to come.
- Some students are already used to long transportation. For example, some Wilders student are already on the bus for 45 minutes. Let the already suffering students continue to suffer. This is not an argument for creating islands. This is exactly why boundaries should be redesigned to help these unfortunate students.
We, as community members of the Redmond area, are signing this petition to strongly urge the committee to create a plan WITHOUT any islands. We understand sometimes decisions are hard to make and each choice seems to have its own pros and cons. However, local control and local decisions are in the best interest of all. We believe school district should show strong leadership in this case.
We strongly urge the committee to make boundary decisions for the long term benefits of the whole community: every student and every family deserve a nearby school and have the right to go to a school with neighbors and friends.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to hear our voice and consider our feedback.
Redmond community members
PDF Version to collect physical signatures: http://tinyurl.com/no-island-pdf
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