Featured Stories

Committee again shifts high school boundaries

Group hopes to wrap up its final proposal March 17

(Image is Clickable Link) Latest revision to the Beaverton School District's potential high school boundary map.

As the committee charged with redrawing Beaverton’s high school attendance boundaries nears its finish line, their latest draft map has again turned in new directions.

In part fueled by a public hearing in February, committee members on March 3 proposed several large changes to their earlier concepts, including new map lines affecting hundreds of students with these potential shifts:

• Much of Oak Hills Elementary into the Sunset High School area

• Montclair Elementary into Southridge High’s area

• Raleigh Hills K-8 into Beaverton High’s area

• Sexton Mountain Elementary into the new high school’s area

• Much of Oak Hills Elementary into the Sunset High School area

The committee, in attempting to balance often-competing priorities as it draws boundaries to accommodate the high school now under construction south of Cooper Mountain, surely didn’t solve everyone’s concerns.

For one, Sunset and Westview high schools, which have been two campuses plagued by overcrowding, wouldn’t have much room to grow under the latest concept. Both schools would be expected to reach 99 percent capacity in just four years as houses spring up across the northern part of the Beaverton School District.

Nor could the plan possibly make all residents – many of whom also have competing interests – happy with what side of the lines their neighborhoods fell.

For example, the committee did not tinker with an area stretching up to Sunset Highway that some residents dubbed the “blue thumb,” with the map color signifying its inclusion in Aloha High’s attendance. Residents from that area just south of Sunset Highway testified at the Feb. 16 public hearing that they wanted their students to attend Sunset or Westview high schools, which are closer to home.

Nor did the committee budge on a large area in the northeastern corner of the district that they are proposing to include in Beaverton High’s boundaries. From the outset of the boundary adjustment process, residents there have sought to keep their Sunset High ties in part because they fear more dangerous and congested trips into central Beaverton.

However, the committee did some additional tinkering in making several smaller adjustments to the map, which they could propose to Superintendent Jeff Rose following their last scheduled meeting March 17. Among those:

• Bring a neighborhood south of Scholls Ferry Road served by Hiteon Elementary back into the Southridge High area with the rest of Hiteon

• Send a neighborhood south of Rigert Road, served by Errol Hassell Elementary, to the new school

• Move a neighborhood west of Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and Valley Catholic School into the Beaverton High area

• Return a neighborhood at the southeast corner of the intersection of Highway 26 and Murray Road back to Sunset High

• Move a neighborhood east of Kaiser Road at the far north of the district into the Westview High area

The recent revisions also would help fill the new high school south of Cooper Mountain faster than earlier proposals. It would reach 87 percent capacity by 2020 in an area also poised for high growth.

Meanwhile, Aloha, Beaverton and Southridge high schools are expected to be at 91 percent to 93 percent capacity in four years under the latest proposal. Those three schools also would have more than half of their student bodies qualifying for free and reduced lunches based on family incomes.

The latest map would unify several neighborhoods while splitting others, in terms of having elementary school classmates eventually come together at a single high school.

Those elementary schools that currently feed two or more high school areas but now would be unified under the latest revisions are Cooper Mountain, Greenway, McKay and Sexton Mountain.

On the flip side, Aloha-Huber Park, where today students eventually funnel into Aloha High School, now would be split off in three directions. And Beaver Acres, Elmonica, Errol Hassell, McKinley and Vose would be split off into two high schools after previously sending all students into one.

Barnes, Chehalem and Jacob Wismer elementary schools would continue to send at least some students into different high schools under the latest proposals, although individual students could find themselves pointed in a new direction.

Not all of the elementary school splits will necessarily remain that way. Once the district solidifies its high school boundaries this spring, officials will launch a new process to redraw elementary boundaries, including carving out an attendance area for a new elementary school that will open in the booming North Bethany area in 2017.

Regardless, before those elementary school students get to high school, it appears many of them will head off in different directions for middle school.

Under the current proposal, not a single middle school across the district would send all of its students on to one high school, at least for several years. New middle school boundaries won’t take effect until 2020, when the district plans to open its newest one in Cedar Mill.

If nothing else changes, Five Oaks Middle School students would be quartered into four different high schools and Highland Park and Meadow Park sent three ways.

When the committee reconvenes on St. Patrick's Day (March 17), it will look to finalize both the boundary lines and plans for how students will make transitions between schools.

Members already have recommended that both juniors and seniors remain at their current school when the new boundaries take effect in 2017.

However, they will further discuss whether students who know they will transfer in 2017 can go ahead and start at their new school in 2016, as long as it’s an existing high school.

They also will further discuss whether younger siblings might have the option of staying with their older brother or sister and how administrative transfer requests between schools might be handled.

Review the latest revision to the high school boundary map