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New high school attendance map released

Draft boundary lines and transition plans are topics of Tuesday public hearing.

TIMES PHOTO: ERIC APALATEGUI - Rewriting school attendance areas is always controversial, as evidenced by the constantly well-attended Boundary Adjustment Committee's meetings. Expect the same for Tuesday's public hearing on the latest Beaverton School District proposal for high schools.With a public hearing coming Tuesday night, Beaverton School District patrons have yet another newly revised draft of the high school boundary map to consider.

While the district Boundary Advisory Committee’s latest map – released Friday following the committee's Feb. 11 work session and taking into account earlier community suggestions – shows lines that would affect every large high school in the district.

But it certainly may not be the final word from the committee.

The committee has two more scheduled meetings following the hearing to continue shaping its boundary map as well as how the district will handle transitions for students who may change campuses during their high school careers.

On the transitions aspect, committee members still have work to do but already have expressed a desire to keep both juniors and seniors at their existing high schools, instead of just seniors as has been done in the past. They will continue to talk about how transitions will affect all students, such as underclassmen (including siblings of juniors and seniors).

District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler noted this week that the committee already has held one additional meeting and could consider adding more sessions to its schedule, if deemed necessary to finish its work. It’s at least possible the committee will work beyond its final scheduled meeting in mid-March, if members still feel more work is necessary to deliever a satisfactory recommendation to Jeff Rose, who has the final say. (An earlier article erroneously stated that the school board would adopt the final boundary and transitional plans.)

The Feb. 16 hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at Southridge High School and could continue until 9 p.m to allow a significant number of people to speak about the potential changes, which have drawn wide interest. (Note that the public hearing originally was scheduled for a different day and location.)

The latest version of the map includes an oddly shaped attendance area for the newest high school, stretching from the campus in the extreme southwest corner of the district up to Tualatin Valley Highway near Chehalem Mountain Elementary. Residents on that far side would be closer to at least four existing high schools than the new campus.

The latest version eases but doesn't fully solve the district's crowding problems.

For example, both Sunset and Westview high schools would be projected to reach 98 percent of their capacities by the year 2020, and both attendance boundaries include high-growth areas on the northern boundaries.

Aloha, Beaverton and Southridge high schools would reach 94-96 percent of their capacities by 2020, but they don't have as much buildable land.

The new high school would only be expected to reach 79 percent of its capacity by that time, but it does have a large amount of buildable land in the South Cooper Mountain area of Beaverton and the River Terrace neighborhood of northwest Tigard, part of which is inside the Beaverton district.

The latest version also helps to even out some of the income disparities between student bodies noted in earlier draft maps, but it would not come close to eliminating them because much of the district’s wealthiest families are concentrated in the extreme northern and southern ends of the district with poorer neighborhoods in older neighborhoods between them.

The new high school would take in substantially more low-income students than previous map versions would have brought them, by taking in neighborhoods closer to the district’s center. Sunset High also would increase its population of lower-income students, but to a lesser degree. However, both of those schools along with Westview (with a modest decrease in the new plan) would have fewer low-income students than the district average.

Aloha, Beaverton and Southridge would see modest declines in projected numbers of low-income students served under the latest concept plan, compared to earlier drafts, but this trio would be above the district averages for that demographic. These three schools also would continue to serve the bulk of the district’s Hispanic students, its largest ethnic minority.

Here is a quick summary of impact of the new (but not final) map’s impacts on five existing high schools and the new (still unnamed) campus in the South Cooper Mountain area, compared to the map discussed at an open house held Jan. 21.

Aloha High – Additions include part of the Elmonica area north to Sunset Highway between 173rd and 185th Avenues and neighborhoods around Errol Hassel Elementary School in the south part of its area. Subtractions include most areas east of 170th Avenue south of Tualatin Valley Highway.

Beaverton High – Additions include the return of some of the Garden Home area in the Montclair Elementary School attendance area. Subtractions include the Meadow Park area north of Walker Road between Murray Boulevard and 158th Avenue.

Southridge High – Additions include the Sexton Mountain Elementary area west of Murray Boulevard. Subtractions include the southern end of the Monclair Elementary area in Garden Home and neighborhoods south of Scholls Ferry in the Hiteon Elementary attendance area.

Sunset High – Additions including bringing back the neighborhoods in the Meadow Park area just south of the high school across Sunset Highway, which is part of the Barnes Elementary area. Subtractions include the Oak Hills Elementary area.

Westview High – Additions include the Oak Hills Elementary area east of Bethany Boulevard just north of Sunset Highway. Subtractions include the northern part of the Elmonica Elementary area.

South Cooper Mountain (unnamed high school) – Additions include a large parts of the Cooper Mountain and Chehalem Mountain elementary areas east of 170th and south of Tualatin Valley Highway, and additional neighborhoods to the south of Scholls Ferry Road in the 135th Avenue area, currently part of the Hiteon Elementary area. Subtractions include the Sexton Mountain Elementary area.

To see the newest version of the draft high school attendance boundaries, click here.