Update on school boundaries committee recommendation

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear students, staff, families and community members,

I am writing to provide an update on our Attendance Areas PreK-12 Standing Committee that has been examining adjustments to middle and elementary school boundaries for three reasons:

  • North Bellingham keeps growing, and some of our north side schools, especially Shuksan Middle School, are over capacity.
  • We are rebuilding Alderwood, Parkview and Sunnyland elementary schools over the next few years (thanks to the passage of the bond in 2018) and they’ll soon have more room.
  • We believe this is an opportunity to bring more balance and diversity to our middle schools, especially as it relates to the socioeconomic background of our families.

After over a year and a half of work, our 40+ person committee has sent me its recommendation.

My initial assessment of the recommendation is that this group has done an outstanding job of developing and processing ideas and options; engaging with and surveying families and community members, especially those who may be affected by the boundary adjustments; and considering and balancing the needs of all students and families.

For background, our attendance area committee is a standing advisory group that recommends adjustments to our schools’ boundaries for a number of reasons, including those listed above: growth patterns, new construction and equity. Policy 3130 guides their work, as does The Bellingham Promise, our strategic plan.

I’m proud of the work this committee has done, and as we prepare to move forward, I want to give an additional opportunity to our community to offer any other insights or wonders that haven’t been voiced yet. Feel free to email me, the committee’s co-chairs, Steve Clarke  or Jay Jordan or call 360-676-6512 to offer feedback or ask questions.

Once I’ve considered any new insights, I plan to follow up with a final decision in the coming weeks about implementation plans for new middle school attendance areas in fall 2021 and new elementary school attendance areas in fall 2021 and 2022.

Greg Baker