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School board approves boundary changes

December 6, 2019

Gresham-Barlow School Board approves boundary changes

Changes to take effect fall of 2020, transition plan under development

The Gresham-Barlow School District’s Board of Directors approved boundary changes for fall 2020 at its December 5 meeting. Elementary and middle school boundaries will change, high school boundaries will remain the same. The boundary changes can be viewed on the District website.

The Boundary Review Process began this fall. Recent construction resulting from the 2016 school bond has expanded capacity at multiple schools. The boundary shifts were necessary due to the construction of new classrooms combined with the planned closing of West Gresham Elementary School in June of 2020.

Boundary review committee made up of parents from across the district

A committee made up of parent representatives from each school and school principals met nine times over the course of eleven weeks to come up with the recommendation which was presented to the superintendent of schools in November.

Community feedback on proposals collected and carefully reviewed

In addition, the committee held two open houses to gather community feedback and obtained input online.  Hundreds of individuals weighed in on the committee’s proposals during the process. The feedback was carefully reviewed by committee members.

“Everything was taken wholeheartedly, but we really did try to sit back and take a look at what was best, as we believed, for the district and for schools,” said committee member Garret Wood.

“We did everything we could to try and make it feasible to manage those concerns and what we came up with seems to be the best balance,” said committee member Logan Rosenstiel.

District polices, parent surveys used to create committee’s guiding principles

The committee was charged with creating a recommendation on attendance boundaries to support long-term balanced enrollment and facility capacity. The committee considered the following guiding principles in creating their recommendation. The guiding principles were based on district policies and insights gained from parent surveys, land use studies, and student enrollment forecasting.

Committee’s Guiding Principles 

-Take a District-wide perspective by considering growth trends and enrollment projections

-Work to balance enrollment across schools

-Minimize disruption and impacts to special programs or special populations (e.g., free and reduced lunch programs, special education)

-Make efforts to maintain neighborhood schools and the feeder system

-Consider transportation impacts, and work towards limiting the amount of time required to bus

-Maximize proximity to home/walkability (e.g. not having to cross busy streets, railroad tracks, and consider natural boundaries

Committee uses data in decision making process

During the boundary review process, the committee reviewed a variety of data including enrollment projections, economic development data, land use studies, demographic information, and school capacity.

“I was really impressed with the way it was data driven,” said committee member Brianna Bigham.

Transition plan under development

District administration will create a transition plan and timeline which will be presented to the school board. Once this is completed, information will be shared with families. Principals of schools affected by the boundary changes are also creating a plan to assist students in getting comfortable with their new schools.