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Board OKs boundary changes

Hillsboro School Board members unanimously approved a proposal for elementary school boundary adjustments Tuesday night that will send several hundred students at four elementary schools to different schools next year.

Board members generally agreed that the boundary adjustments, although not perfect, were made with careful consideration of the input received at community meetings.

“We tried to be as thoughtful as we could,” said Adam Stewart, the district’s chief financial officer, who led the boundary adjustment effort. “We acknowledged that not everyone was going to be happy.”

Stewart told the board the new boundaries, which take effect next school year, should even out enrollment and prevent overcrowding at schools for the next five or six years.

“We’ll probably have to do this in another five or six years when we build new schools,” in the south Hillsboro area, Stewart said.

Under the plan, 98 students at Tobias Elementary School will move to Indian Hills Elementary. District officials anticipate 137 more students from new developments in the Tobias boundary.

Thirty-four students will move from Witch Hazel to Rosedale Elementary. Twenty-two new students are expected from new developments in the Witch Hazel boundary area.

At Orenco and Quatama elementary schools, the boundary adjustments allow for a large influx of new students from residential construction in the Orenco area. Some, like the Tesserra Apartments on Northwest 231st Avenue, are completed. Other construction is still underway or not yet started.

The plan at Orenco is for 35 current students to move to Quatama Elementary School. That will allow room at Orenco for an expected 41 new students from new residential developments.

Twelve students will move from Quatama to Lenox Elementary and 135 students will move from Quatama to West Union Elementary School.

West Union’s enrollment will almost double, from 283 to an estimated 428 students next year, putting it near capacity. The school currently has a half-time principal, John Allen, who will become a full-time principal next school year.

All students attending Orenco Elementary School on transfers will be expected to return to their home school next year. All other schools affected by the boundary adjustments will be able to accommodate students on transfer next school year, but they must reapply each year thereafter.

Within the city of Hillsboro there are 32 residential housing projects under construction or recently completed. The fastest-growing area is Orenco, where 1,650 new residences are under construction or complete.

The two-month boundary adjustment process involved convening a boundary adjustment committee to make recommendations — the final plan is the fifth iteration — five community input meetings and countless hours drawing and redrawing boundary maps.

Board member Glenn Miller, who sat on the boundary adjustment committee, praised the process, saying it was “as open, honest and fair as you possibly could make it.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board:

n Approved two additional days, June 16 and 17, to be added to the end of the school year as professional development days for all employees. The added days will make up for the two inclement weather days in February when schools were closed during a snowstorm. Students will not attend school those two days. The final day for students remains June 12.

n Approved the calendar for the 2014-15 school year. The calendar includes two budget reductions days. School will begin for students Sept. 2, 2014, and end June 11, 2015.




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