New lines: The boundary question is a critical community issue

May Street-Westside attendance areas as they have been since 2006. The yellow area indicates May Street Elementary’s area; the pink is Westside’s. City and county planners expect future development to be mostly concentrated within the boundary for May Street, which is already operating over capacity. The most significant boundary change being suggested would put everything west of Rand Road into Westside Elementary’s attendance area.


May Street-Westside attendance areas as they have been since 2006. The yellow area indicates May Street Elementary’s area; the pink is Westside’s. City and county planners expect future development to be mostly concentrated within the boundary for May Street, which is already operating over capacity. The most significant boundary change being suggested would put everything west of Rand Road into Westside Elementary’s attendance area.

Know your boundaries, the old saying goes.

Or, know your school boundaries.

In need of revision are those internal boundaries designating which students go to which Hood River County schools. Those changes will go into effect as early as next school year, and the district is offering the community two opportunities to comment on six options.

They include five geographically based options and one less specific one that would allow parents to opt for transportation to under-utilized Cascade Locks School.

How to best deal with the problem of overcrowding in some schools and under-enrollment in others is at the heart of the effort.

See page A1 for details on how to get involved.

The study and selected options are an interesting capture of the status of enrollment growth and future changes in the district. For example, the district is now having to reassess boundaries based on the effects of housing developments near May Street School and in areas now served by Westside. These neighborhoods either did not exist or have many more children in them than the last time the boundaries were changed, in 2006.

The urban May Street-Westside interface is now subject to an enrollment imbalance, just as is the case with the rural Mid Valley-Parkdale duo.

The thread that runs through all of the options put forth by the district is an attempt to anticipate where future growth will be. That could mean selection of an option in 2013 where School A seems spacious while School B seems packed, but what must be taken into account is the likelihood of a balancing out within several years.

After all, reaching equilibrium is, by nature, a gradual process.

It’s good the district included the option of reconfiguring May Street and Westside to serve different grades; it may emerge as not the right decision for the community, but the conversation needs to happen.

The district and community must consider, to the extent possible, the overall potential impacts of enrollment distribution on, say, this year’s first-graders when they reach third or fourth.

The boundary review is one more example of a community learning opportunity.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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