Marysville school boundary talks heat up as Albright resigns

MARYSVILLE – One of the main reasons Tom Albright resigned from the school board was to reduce stress.

It was a good thing he wasn’t at Tuesday night’s meeting, when the rest of the board accepted his resignation.

The board and administrators continue to come under fire for recommendations regarding school boundaries.

During public comment, Trish Johnson spoke for numerous others concerned about Sunnyside-area students going to Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

She said she’s been active in her children’s education, getting to know teachers, coaches and administrators at MG because that’s where they had chosen to go. But Marysville is no longer going to be a “choice” district.

“Parents are upset. It’s disruptive to students’ lives,” she said, adding at recent sporting events people have been “livid.”

She said she knows many people who voted against the recent capital levy because of boundaries.

“It came out of the blue,” she said, adding it was a last-minute decision, which upset many.

Ray Sheldon, who waved signs in support of the capital levy, wondered now if maybe the school district should have hired a consultant. He said it would have been nice for parents to have options.

Randy Davis, president of the local teachers union, had a different take. “Do not delay the boundary recommendation,” he said. “You’re never going to get 100 percent agreement.”

Davis said the community needs to get busy and implement the decision. He said delaying important decisions doesn’t sit well with the community. He also chastised some who acted like being sent to Totem Middle School or M-P “looked like a punishment. I taught at both for parts of four decades, and they are both good schools.”

Director Pete Lundberg said one reason for the boundaries is to provide equity at all schools.

“Inequitable practices breed inequitable solutions,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where I go to school because I’ll get the same opportunities regardless.”

Assistant superintendent Scott Beebe, who facilitated the boundary committee process, said they discussed dozens of scenarios. He said sending Sunnyside students to M-P was key to parity. As for it being a longer distance to school, it’s 1.3 miles, he added.

Beebe has said MG has 500 more students than M-P so enrollment will be more balanced. There’s also a balance in culture and customs as racial and ethnic diversity will be broader. “They can learn alongside people different from their own,” he said. As for transportation, Beebe said the district could save as much as $1.5 million a year on busing.

Albright resigns

Regarding Albright, Lundberg said, “We will miss Tom. He’s thoughtful and has great insight. His strength is leading people.” Director Chris Nation added: “He’s our foundation – a rock, with a calm demeanor.”

Albright was first appointed to the board in 2010. He has been board president on numerous occasions. Albright was challenged for the first time for the school board seat, but easily won in November 66 percent to 33 percent for Halleh Stickels. He has been a chaplain for Marysville police and fire, and held positions to help students attend college in Kenya. Albright was a former pastor at Marysville United Methodist Church, stepping down in 2011.

Other news

Also at the meeting, the Marysville Strawberry Festival candidates spoke and were judged by board members. They are: Elizabeth Card, Ismarie Cuiriz and Grace Kyser from MG; and from M-P Aaron Able, Abigail Jeskey, Katelyn Leary, Zinead Morales, Victoria Wilde and Jimena Yanez.