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Forums will discuss school boundary changes

When schools reach or exceed capacity, there is an impact on building facilities such as cafeterias, small-square-footage classrooms, gymnasiums and rooms used for instructional support.

According to a recent Hood River County School District letter sent to district parents, those challenges are now becoming an issue for several schools within the District.

As a result of an imbalance in student distribution across school sites, the district administration is considering a change in school boundary lines that could affect many local families.

Upcoming forums

Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center: March 18, 6:30 p.m.

Hood River Middle School Auditorium:

March 20, 6:30 p.m.

In conjunction with an ongoing study on building capacity and enrollment, HRCSD is scheduling two community-input forums.

Parents and patrons who attend will have an opportunity to give direct feedback to administrators on issues tied to adjusting building enrollment across the county.

According to Bob Dais, HRCSD communications point person, Hood River County has experienced a slow but steady increase in student enrollment over the past four years, impacting the capacity levels at certain schools within the district.

With the relocation of the district’s Early Childhood Education program to Pine Grove School and in consideration of countywide housing developments, the administration has identified overcrowding in classrooms at May Street Elementary, Mid Valley Elementary and Hood River Middle School.

In contrast, Parkdale Elementary, Wy’east Middle School, Westside Elementary and Cascade Locks School all currently have available classroom space.

To address these issues, the district is taking steps to balance elementary and middle school enrollment across the district for the foreseeable future.

As part of that planning process, the district is conducting a building capacity study to understand how to best utilize the instructional space in all of its schools.

The study will include an in-depth analysis of current attendance boundaries and proposed county development.

The district has made minor adjustments to its attendance boundaries in years past, but clearly recognizes the need to have a comprehensive study to guide this process.

A committee comprised of district administration, building principals and support staff are collecting and analyzing data from three major areas:

n Demographic studies and enrollment projections

n Analysis of building capacity and facilities

n Community input forums, set for March 18 and 20 (see inset box for details)

Questions about the boundary evaluation process can be directed to Charlie Beck, district superintendent, at 541-387-5013.

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