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School boundary adjustments under way

Hillsboro School District officials will begin the process later this month of adjusting attendance boundaries at several district schools.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - Major residential Developments like this one in Orenco at the corner of Northeast Cherry Drive and Northeast Orenco Station Parkway are forcing school officials to consider redrawing attendance boundaries within the Hillsboro School District.

The process includes convening a Boundary Adjustment Committee, made up of the principal and a parent from each impacted school, school board member Glenn Miller, and transportation staff members. The committee is slated to meet four times, beginning Jan. 15, to form a recommendation for the school board.

Community input meetings will take place in February, with dates and locations still to be determined, said the school district’s communications director, Beth Graser.

Some areas within the school district boundaries are growing quickly. Within the city of Hillsboro there are 32 housing projects under construction or recently completed that will result in 2,241 new residential units.

In unincorporated Washington County, there are four housing projects that will result in 630 dwellings within the school district attendance area.

Based on formulas used by the Portland State University Population Research Center to project the number of students, school district officials anticipate an increase of approximately 650 elementary school students, 150 middle school students and 250 high school students as a result of the new housing.

There is room for the bump in enrollment, Graser said — but not necessarily in the areas in which the building is occurring.

In the Orenco area alone, 1,650 new residences are expected to put a squeeze on space at both Quatama and Orenco elementary schools. The Liberty High School feeder group (the elementary schools and middle school that feed into Liberty) will definitely be affected by boundary changes, Graser said.

In the South Hillsboro area, the Witch Hazel Elementary School boundary area — in the Hillsboro High School feeder group — has 216 single-family homes under construction. Other schools may see boundary changes still to be determined by the adjustment committee.

Poynter Middle School and Liberty High School both have room for additional students, Graser said. Poynter’s enrollment is approximately 830 and is designed to house 1,000 students; Liberty was built with future growth in mind.

In considering boundary adjustments, the committee will work with several guiding principles:

n Maintain current feeder patterns;

n Minimize the number of students and schools impacted;

n Plan for the long term;

n Consider associated transportation costs;

n Maintain existing neighborhoods;

n Create an appeal process to allow students to stay at their current schools if their school boundary is changed; and

n Consider equity in the adjustment process.

Committee meetings are set for Jan. 15, Jan. 22, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5.

The meetings will be open to observation by the public, but public comments will only be taken during the open community meetings in February.



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