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Beaverton schools superintendent considers overcrowding remedies

Bethany-area schools share public's preferred options

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Eighth-grade students at Stoller Middle School eat lunch in a packed cafeteria.Concerned parents, school staff and Beaverton School District officials met for the third time last week to decide on short-term solutions to Bethany’s overcrowded schools.

The Oct. 28 meeting was the last of three gatherings and whittled a list of 22 ideas down to a handful that would be presented to Superintendent Jeff Rose for consideration.

Rose “received the recommendations, will do about two weeks' worth of homework — including reviewing data — before making a decision,” said Maureen Wheeler, Beaverton School District spokeswoman.

About 100 people gathered at Springville K-8 School to contribute to the discussion, five times the participation of the second meeting on Oct. 15.

“There was much more parent concern and interest about the impending recommendations the committee will be sending to the superintendent,” said Mike Molony, one of six members of the overcrowding solutions committee, comprised of parents with students attending Springville and Stoller Middle School.

Bethany schools are overcrowded now, and with heavy residential development in North Bethany underway, thousands more families are yet to come.

Fall enrollment at Springville K-8 is at 712 students, 105.4 percent of capacity.

Fall enrollment at Stoller Middle School, 14141 N.W. Laidlaw Road, tips the scales at 1,038 students and is currently 126.1 percent of capacity.

The final five solutions chosen were:

• Re-route new North Bethany students to less-crowded schools, beginning this school year.

• Expedite construction of new school sites. The school district owns two sites in North Bethany, one on Kaiser Road between a community by West Hills Development/Arbor Homes and Polygon Homes. The other site is east of the Polygon development and north of Springville Road. The first one with water and sewer connections and other infrastructure is likely to be the one that is built, Wheeler said.

• Relocate incoming Summa students to sites other than Stoller in 2014-15. Summa currently has 325 students, said Wheeler, and new students can go to Meadow Park, Whitford, Cedar Park or Highland Park, which don’t have similar overcrowding issues.

“Summa is an opt-in program for middle school students in the top 1 percentile nationally, two standard deviations above the norm,” said Tammy Fry, a committee member for Springville K-8 with four children, one at Springville and one at Stoller.

• Add portable buildings at Stoller.

• Add portables at Rock Creek Elementary, but only for older students. Two portables with four classrooms are already at the site.

The committee was satisfied with the results, Fry said.

“The biggest concerns from parents were potential boundary adjustments with Rock Creek Elementary School and Springville being moved or eliminated,” said committee member Molony. “None of the recommendations involved boundary adjustments, or moving or eliminating Springville’s middle school program.”

“We had wonderful testimony, and that’s what we wanted to see,” Wheeler said of the meetings. “It’s incredible to see how passionate parents are about their schools.”

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