Pasco Schools: New boundaries bring old problems

Pasco Schools: New boundaries bring old problems »Play Video
PASCO, Wash -- Two steps forward, one step back. Pasco School District's last redistricting input session was Tuesday night. The district is on their second draft. But, while they were able to accommodate one neighborhood into the new STEM school, they pushed out another, leaving the same safety issues affecting a new group of kids.

"I live five blocks from the new school, if I lived five blocks from McGee, I’d be fighting to go to McGee," said Jeff Deist, a dad living north of Burden Boulevard.

It's the last stand for parents north of Burden Boulevard to get back into what they call the safety zone.

"I would let my kids walk to school,” said Tara Nebecker. “I don't let them walk to school now; I don't feel it is safe enough.”

When Pasco School District first drew their lines, a chunk of neighborhoods north of Burden Boulevard, west of Road 44 and east of Road 68 was slated to go to Rosalind Franklin. Now, they've been pushed out as Madison Park was incorporated. It's a problem, said Jeff Deist: It shouldn't be one neighborhood and not the other. “My wife went to the last meeting and told me about the Madison Park folks, I thought good for them. They're just as close as I am. Well, they changed it for them and hit us."

It means, instead of the five walking blocks to Franklin, his kids need to be driven a mile and a quarter to McGee. While across the street, others are unaffected.

“The border prevents my kids from going to school with their friends,” said Nebecker. “They're used to going to school with friend, riding bikes together and this literally cuts it."

One major contention point is the “Opt-in” lottery. Franklin's principal told KEPR last week they were saving 100 to 150 spots for kids outside of the pink portion (as shown on the map.) Parents from Madison Park and the neighborhood north of Burden say it's unfair. They should close the lottery and save the room for kids closest to the school.

"Before when there was no other option, you dealt with it. But now, there's a chance for my kids to walk to school, but there's this ‘Opt-in’ and they're busing in kids who want to go to it? I just don't think that's right," said Nebecker.

That's what Pasco School District needs to figure out, what's right for them and for these kids.

There are no other public meetings planned before the school board is poised to make their decision January 28th. That being said, Pasco officials told KEPR to check the district website daily, they may try to squeeze one more session in before the meeting.