By Steve Powell
MARYSVILLE – The school board decided to delay a decision on school boundaries Monday night.
For next year, Marysville-Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell will remain choice high schools. Middle school and grade school boundaries will remain the same.
The board has been hearing complaints from the community for weeks, especially that most middle schoolers would have to change schools and that Sunnyside-area residents did not want their kids to go farther north to M-P. Another issue was Liberty elementary students going to Cedarcrest Middle School, rather than nearby Marysville Middle School.
Board president Vanessa Edwards said after the meeting that the process was flawed. She said it needed more community involvement. “We have more listening to do,” she said. “There’s so much more that we hadn’t considered.”
She thanked the committee that came up with the boundary recommendations. Edwards said there was a lack of input from the hispanic community, and some of the public meetings occurred when there was snow on the ground so attendance was poor.
Director Pete Lundberg said the committee did a great job, exactly what it was asked to do. However, the process brought up a lot of unanswered questions.
He said the district doesn’t want a repeat of what happened 10 years ago when MG was built.
“It was contentious and some people still haven’t gotten over it,” he said.
Lundberg said sometimes things move too fast “before people have time to digest it.”
During the prior public comment period of the meeting, a number of people spoke about the boundaries.
Dylan Qureshi, a seventh-grader at Marysville Middle School, asked the board, “Do you remember what middle school was like?” He said it’s hard enough with drugs, knives, vaping and bullying. But to have to switch schools and leave your friends would make it even tougher. In regard to making the schools equally diverse, he said, “Why’s that matter? We’re all equal.”
He also said that the community is changing constantly so setting the boundaries now only makes them “equal at this time only.”
Trish Johnson said historically the district has not listened to the community, and it happened again. She said, “We live in a wonderful, diverse community” but “not every school has to artificially enforce diversity.”
Becky Roberts, a teacher at M-P for 27 years, spoke against the trend. She said not have boundaries has had a negative effect on the community. “We should not say one school is better than the other,” she said.
Ray Sheldon said he wants his grandkids to go to schools “like everyone else. Schools are not the same… If you say it enough you believe it. But they’re treated differently. The (Tulalip) tribe is not happy” with the boundaries,” he said.
Kristen Michel said the district needs to rebuild trust, adding the MG decision 10 years ago divided the community.
“Get it right,” she said, adding the community needs to understand how boundaries will help the kids. “Take more time. You don’t want to hear ten years from now the community is frustrated.”
Mark Indrebo said his daughters are in tears about possible changes. They would be separated from their friends in the Highly Capable program.
“They’re already vulnerable feeling like they don’t fit in,” he said.
Director Paul Galovin said he was encouraged about all of the community input and hopes for more in the future.
“It’s insightful to hear your words,” he said. “We need more information; we get that.”
The delayed plan
The goal of the district is to have two equal comprehensive high schools.
Boundaries would be:
•Feeders for Totem Middle – Quil Ceda, Tulalip, Sunnyside and Marshall
•Feeders for Cedarcrest Middle – Liberty, Kellogg Marsh and Grove
•Feeders for Marysville Middle – Allen Creek and Pinewood.
•Feeders for MG – Cedarcrest and half of MMS.
•Feeders for M-P – the other half of MMS plus Totem.