And it appears there will be further cuts to Graham Hill. I am puzzled by this especially for a school that has already had its share AND given serious safety concerns that parents have repeatedly brought before the Board.
There seems to be equity issues arising from the assignment plan in terms of how many options some parents are able to get their children to school, the safety of walk zones especially in terms of the lack of sidewalks and security problems. (Another school soon to be affected by these problems will be the reopened Cedar Park Elementary.)
Why the Board does not see this - because all they need to do is ride the bus or walk the routes - I do not know. (I do know that Rep. Gerry Pollet HAS done this in the Cedar Park area and if a state rep can take the time to do this, Board members can as well.)
Here's is some background info from one parent.
See from the RCW at this link http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.160.160, specifically point 5:
(5) As used in this section, "walk area" means that area around a school with an adequate roadway configuration to provide students access to school with a walking distance of less than one mile. Mileage must be measured along the shortest roadway or maintained public walkway where hazardous conditions do not exist. The hazardous conditions must be documented by a process established in rule by the superintendent of public instruction and must include roadway, environmental, and social conditions. Each elementary school shall identify walk routes within the walk area.
(1) Each district shall determine the walk area for each school building or learning center where students are enrolled, attend class and transportation is provided. The district is required to use a process to determine the walk area that involves as many of the following groups as possible: Parents, school administrators, law enforcement representatives, traffic engineers, public health or walking advocates and other interested parties. Hazardous conditions requiring transportation service will be documented and will include all roadways, environmental and social conditions included in the evaluation process. The district process will be consistent with the one described in School Walk and Bike Routes: A Guide for Planning and Improving Walk and Bike to School Options for Students published by the Washington state department of transportation.
My understanding, and that of my contact at the city, is that state law provides for reimbursement for transportation expenses, provided they fall within the specified guidelines (seehttp://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=392-141-360). The guidelines state the school communities must be involved in determining their school's walk zone, and furthermore that hazardous social conditions should be considered when determining a walk zone.
I do not think we need much more evidence of hazardous social conditions in the case of Graham Hill, and I know that many other school communities could easily document their concerns.
End of parent narrative
It is very important for these parents to sign up this Monday morning in order to speak at the Board meeting on Wednesday.