Board OKs shifting of some students
On Monday the Lake Oswego School Board approved boundary adjustments to shift students from Uplands Elementary School, which is closing in the fall, to Oak Creek and Forest Hills elementary schools.
The only exception is a special education program called ACCESS, which will move to Lake Grove Elementary School.
The board also acknowledged that moving students from Bryant Elementary School, which is also closing, may be more challenging as capacity on the south side is limited.
The committee tasked with redrawing south side boundaries could have a hard time doing so within the directions it received, which included side of lake redraws only.
One challenge that the school district knew it was up against is that the north side of the lake has larger elementary buildings than the south side.
Given the parity issues between Lake Oswego High School and Lakeridge, which has a smaller student population, it will not be an easy solution to figure out how to keep the students on the south side of the lake, where there also happens to be limited capacity.
But Superintendent Bill Korach said that there were two other factors that were not considered last year when the board decided to close three elementaries: Palisades in 2011 and Bryant and Uplands in 2012.
First, it did not have the results of the 2010 U.S. Census, which would have indicated the number of children who are not yet in school that live in the city of Rivergrove. The city has experienced a lot of development in recent years, which is attracting young families, and more development is planned.
Second, the district administration did not account for students transferring out of River Grove many of them to Bryant.
'That got lost in our calculations,' said Korach.
With less schools to transfer to, the population at River Grove will have to stay at River Grove, leaving it a challenge to figure out where to house all of the Bryant students.
'It's really good that we're getting growth there ... but it's also a challenge in that the committee last year did not have the Census information on that nor did they have a complete picture based on the transfers out,' said Korach.
The south side boundary committee has been looking at a number of solutions, said Korach, including using portable classrooms as a bridge strategy for a few years at River Grove, using Bryant for some programs, such as language immersion or even using part of Palisades.
'It may well be the best strategy to provide portables for what would probably be two years,' said Korach.
During that time, the district could go through the necessary steps to build a new wing at River Grove to accommodate for the growth and allow south side students to stay on the south side.
The committee has met twice and has another two meetings planned before it makes a recommendation to the board.
One solution has been mentioned that has not been sanctioned yet by the school board. The school board has not charged any committee or the administration with looking at a redraw of the north-south boundary, which determines who attends Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools, said Korach. But it could add that directive to its goals this summer as it looks at priorities for next year.
According to Korach, 'There isn't a tremendous amount of latitude here because you're trying to save that money and trying to make sure that you get the school capacities and student enrollment in line with Scenario B,' which will close three elementaries and transition sixth graders to middle schools.
The school district hopes to save between $2.1 and $2.3 million with the closures, which will help close its $5.5 million funding gap.