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School Board OKs Llewellyn-Duniway rebalancing plan

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The Portland Public Schools Board of Education votes in favor of the proposed Llewellyn-Duniway boundary change.At the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board meeting in North Portland on November 26, members listened as their Director of Enrollment and Transfer, Judy Brennan, told about the efforts made over the last year to “rebalance” the enrollment of Llewellyn and Duniway Schools.

Brennan recounted meetings with parents, who this spring expressed great concern about the burgeoning enrollment at Llewellyn, a school almost closed several years ago because of an incorrectly predicted dwindling student body.

And, along with Larry Dashiell, PPS Regional Administrator for the Wilson and Cleveland Cluster Schools, Brennan outlined the plan that would shift incoming – but not current – students in the southern portion of Llewellyn’s catchment area back to Duniway.

The Board voted unanimously to accept the boundary change, which would move potential Llewellyn Elementary School students to Duniway School instead, if they live south of Tacoma Street and east of 17th Avenue in Sellwood.

While the meeting continued, Dashiell stepped out of the meeting, and spoke with THE BEE.

“Obviously, this will be a gradual change, as we begin to feed more students over to Duniway,” Dashiell said. “It’ll take a little longer, but we do not have a policy in which we would move kids who are already attending one school, over to another school.” Those now attending Llewellyn, and their siblings, can continue to go to school there.

Students who live in the area affected by the boundary change would be riding a bus, because of the distance to Duniway School. On the upside, Dashiell added, students in the boundary change area – when they progress out of elementary school – will be attending nearby Sellwood Middle School – a school “right in their neighborhood”.

What of the critical voices that still point to overcrowding at Llewellyn?

“The key is that we begin to make that change,” Dashiell responded. “And, we did give parents the option of a voluntary transfer from Llewellyn to Duniway – and we got five or six who made that change this year.”