BSD - Middle School Boundary - Do the right thing.

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Dear Steven Sparks and Middle School Boundary Adjustment Committee,

Thanks for initiating the boundary adjustment process in the wake of new Timberland middle school (MS) being available to accept students in near future. This petition is to highlight facts, data and a request to BSD and the committee to do the right thing in light of those facts. Please consider the points below while working with the community to deliver your recommendations and we urge the committee to take balanced approach with low impact to most of the MS students instead of taking any extreme approach where one set to students undergo hardship while other set gets everything easy. This petition also highlights facts and arguments related to maps which currently and in future show vertical split of the north Bethany split.

Goals of the boundary adjustment exercise:

  1. Identify feeder schools for new Timberland MS
  2. Reducing over crowding at Stoller MS

Points to consider:

Proximity:

  • Cedar Hills Elementary School (ES), Bonny Slope ES, Terra Linda ES and Findley ES are the nearest schools to new Timberland MS.
  • Schools further north Springville ES and Sato ES are too far from any middle school other than Stoller MS which is the nearest at approximately 2 miles. Especially, Springville to Five Oaks is 20% longer than current longest commute in BSD for normal schools.
  • Most of the Jacob Wismer ES and a part of Findley ES (north of Bronson Creek) are in safe route walk zone to Stoller.
  • Findley ES, south of Bronson creek is a bused community currently traveling to Stoller MW and is not in the walk zone.
  • Rock Creek ES is as far from Stoller MS as it is to Five Oaks MS.
  • US 26 and NW 185th intersection is one of the busiest intersections in the county seeing around 90, 000 cars every single day. Considering the busy roads commute time for school buses across that intersection can be very high, especially if it is combined with long commute distance

Based on the facts above, it makes sense to send the nearest 4 schools to Timberland without disturbing the students living in the walk zone of Stoller MS. This will keep the commute times low and middle school students will spend less time in the bus doing more productive things. There are numerous studies conducted on the impact of commute distance on the performance of individuals, and none show positive results. It also can have an adverse impact on the volunteers who might not be able to travel long distance for volunteer work compared to a school which within easy commute distance. Volunteering is the backbone of the our school system and we should not break it as it can be disastrous. Hence, maps similar to theme 1 should be considered.

Economics:

  • Rock creek ES currently have 22% kids coming under reduced price lunch program. This number is 17% for Springville.
  • Jacob Wismer and Findley are some of the richest communities with less than 5% students qualifying for reduced price lunch program.
  • Considering middle schools, Five Oaks has 61% students qualifying for reduced price lunch program.

If Springville and/or Rock Creek are sent to Five Oaks, we will have a great imbalance in economic equity between the students of Five Oaks and Stoller. Stoller will be an exclusive school for only the richest of the families in BSD while Five Oaks will have even more poor kids coming in. BSD should keep student equity as a part of it's decision to draw new boundaries. BSD should not be drawing boundaries promoting exclusivity and resulting in creation of economic barriers. Hence, maps similar to theme 2 and 3 should be discarded.

Diversity

  • Springville ES - White 46%, Asian 33%, Hispanic 13%, 2+ race 5%
  • Findley ES - White 32%, Asian 56%, Hispanic __%, 2+ race 7%
  • Jacob Wismer ES - White 31%, Asian 60%, Hispanic __%, 2+ race 4%
  • Rock Creek ES - White 59%, Asian 18%, Hispanic 13%, 2+ race __%
  • Stoller MS - White 44%, Asian 42%, Hispanic 7%, Black 2%, 2+ race 6%
  • Five Oaks MS - White 41%, Asian 9%, Hispanic 39%, Black 5%, 2+ race 6%

If Springville ES and/or Rock creek were to be moved to Five Oaks, we will have Stoller MS as school exclusively for white and Asian kids. All diversity coming from Springville ES and Rock creek will cease and it will enter 5 oaks which is already a very diverse school. Again promoting exclusivity is not in the right interest of our future. Racial exclusivity can breed racial intolerance and diminish the feeling of mutual respect for all human beings. Kids growing in diverse culture will be far more tolerant and successful overall in this day and age of globalization. Hence, maps similar to theme 2 and 3 should be discarded.

Equity

  • Equity rating for Five Oaks MS is very poor (2/10)
  • Equity rating for Stoller MS is very high (7/10)

It is evidently that putting all the poor families together in a school can negatively impact its performance. Any plan to send more poor kids to a school which is already struggling with equity issues will make that school a complete failure. We should have a balance approach so the schools remain a collection of multiple races and various economic statuses, not create centers of high privilege and low privilege students. Hence, maps similar to theme 2 and 3 should be discarded.

Growth and other factors

  • Currently only SATO school is growing in terms of housing and new construction and will continue in next few years
  • Springville grew in the past few years, however, no significant taking place in this area as most of the ares has been constructed already
  • Currently Five Oaks MS is running at capacity and it can not accommodate more students from anywhere unless those who are studying there currently are moved out. Theme 2 and theme 3 talk about moving 2 big schools to Five Oaks. There is absolutely no reason to create overcrowding issue in a school in order to remove overcrowding issue in another school. Fundamental assumption behind theme 2 and theme 3 is flawed, that Five Oaks is ready to absorb 2 big schools from north of US 26.

Growth is an essential part of human life should always be welcomed. North of the neighborhood has been growing in past. However, the new school has been built towards the center of the maps instead of being in North or South. By all logic, data and reasoning, the elementary schools closest to new school should move into new school.

In the wake of above data points, this petition recommends that the idea of moving Springville ES and Rock Creek ES out of Stoller MS and sending them to Five Oaks MS, consequently theme 2, theme 3 and any other similar theme which might have originated on Nov 21st, should be completely scrapped. We should have more drawing sessions in the coming future with this and similar data provided by BSD to the parents to make educated decision about the boundary adjustment process. This is for the future of our kids who are the future of this country. We should give them the best so that they can be best human beings with empathy and tolerance for all.

Thanks for your attention.

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Parents and Students

North Bethany Schools