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Parents Express Concern About Overcrowding at Rosa Parks Elementary

The school will be 50 students over capacity this year, even with the continued use of 10 portable classrooms.

A group of parents who are concerned about overcrowding at on Redmond Ridge plans to address the  (LWSD) Board of Directors at its Monday meeting during a public comment period.

Julianne Bogaty, whose daughter will be in second grade at Rosa Parks this year, said the problem has been building for several years. Some families, Bogaty said, have opted to enroll their children in private school or move out of the neighborhood as a result.

“People are really getting disillusioned over here,” she said. “That’s not a good thing for the school district.”

Rosa Parks' capacity is 713 students, including space provided by 10 portable classrooms. District officials expect 764 students for this school year—a decline of just four students from the previous year, even with the removal of sixth graders for .

Kathryn Reith, a spokeswoman for LWSD, said new superintendent Traci Pierce plans to meet with community members this fall to determine a course of action. The fact that the school will continue to be more than 50 students over capacity this year—even with grade reconfiguration—is unsettling for district officials, she said.

"The growth (from last year) was enough to make up for an entire grade’s worth of kids,” Reith said. “We are very concerned about a school that size and growing.”

But many Rosa Parks parents have grown frustrated waiting for a solution. Aside from the use of portables, parent Beth Zimmerman said limited facilities and resources often makes it difficult for students and families to participate in extra-curricular activities—an effect that's "not easily seen by school board members" during daytime visits.

Bogaty and Zimmerman said they would support a proposal to build a new school, but that option was turned down by voters as part of a failed $234-million bond measure. The next opportunity for a new bond measure is 2014, and although a new school for Redmond Ridge students will "certainly be on the table" for inclusion, Reith said there's no guarantee it would make the final cut.

Meanwhile, the lack of certainty surrounding funding for a new school has led many to support moving the school's boundary and sending more Redmond Ridge students to in unincorporated Woodinville.

But Reith said moving school boundaries presents its own set of challenges. Changing schools can be disruptive to students' development, she said, and because many families buy homes expecting their children to attend a particular school, district officials would have to carefully gauge community support for the idea.

Monday's board meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at the . Bogaty said the Rosa Parks group will be wearing purple—the school's color—to show their support of district action.

John Pitch August 08, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Wilder's capacity is expected to fall to under 300 in 2013-14. Rosa Parks will reach nearly 800. Why ask the tax payers to fund a new school and subject almost 800 students at Rosa Parks to overcrowded conditions when there is capacity for 200 more students at nearby and high achieving Wilder? I truly feel for the children at Rosa Parks. Chip Kimball and the school board knew the population growth was coming as evidenced by the fact that a new school was put in the failed 2010 bond. They lacked leadership and vision and now nearly 800 young children suffer! In response to Kathryn Reith's excuse for lack of action, changing schools will be disruptive for about two weeks out of a child's life as children are resilient to a certain point. Whereas keeping their neighborhood school drastically overcrowded affects them EVERY SINGLE school day each year the situation lacks action. I certainly hope moving school boundaries for 150+ children at Rosa Parks is #1 on the short term solution list as it's truly the ONLY solution. And it needs to happen yesterday!
Chantal St-Pierre August 08, 2012 at 10:32 PM
And it is much easier for a child to adapt to a new school when they find themselves surrounded by familiar people. They will be a group of 150+ children all from the same part of the neighbourhood.

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