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Originally published November 3, 2009 at 4:38 PM | Page modified November 4, 2009 at 10:39 AM

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District tweaks Seattle school boundary maps

Seattle Public Schools has made some big changes — and many small ones — to the proposed attendance boundaries that soon will govern who attends which Seattle school.

Seattle Times education reporter

Upcoming boundary meetings

Nov. 4 Proposed boundaries discussed at School Board meeting, 6 p.m., John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Ave. S.

Nov. 5 Information meeting, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Roosevelt High School, 1410 N.E. 66th St.

Nov. 7: Information meeting, 10 a.m.-noon, Rainier Beach High, 8115 Seward Park Ave. S.

Nov. 9: Public hearing, 6-8 p.m., John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Ave. S.

Nov. 18: School Board votes on boundaries, 6 p.m., John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Ave. S.

Seattle Public Schools has made some big changes — and many small ones — to the proposed attendance boundaries that soon will govern who attends which Seattle school.

Roosevelt High's attendance area grew, for example, while Ballard High's shrank in the revisions made since the first proposals were released in early October.

The attendance boundaries for Sealth High and Denny Middle are now identical, based on the fact that those two schools will soon share a campus.

Among elementary schools, the district made changes in the lines for 45 of its 58 schools, including moving the northern boundary for John Muir Elementary farther north, changing the boundaries for Coe and Hay elementary schools on Queen Anne Hill, and moving John Stanford International School's northern boundary to a few blocks north of Northeast 45th Street.

The changes reflect many of the more than 1,000 suggestions made by parents and other community members, said Tracy Libros, director of enrollment planning.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the boundaries on Nov. 18.

The board earlier approved the outlines of the new school-assignment plan, which will return Seattle to a neighborhood-based system for the first time in three decades. The district has been moving in that direction for many years, but this new plan would take the final step by assigning students to a nearby school based on their address.

The new plan will guarantee students a seat at a school near their homes. Families still will have the option of applying to any school in the district — including a number of "option" schools that all students must apply to attend — but the district won't provide as much yellow-bus service as it does now.

One big challenge will be persuading parents to send their children to schools that aren't now considered high-quality schools. Another is working out a number of transition issues, especially whether to allow younger siblings to attend schools where older brothers and sisters now go.

Even with all the changes, the new proposals are unlikely to please everyone.

Many people, for example, proposed moving Ballard High's boundary north of Northwest 85th Street, but Libros said there just isn't enough room at Ballard to do that. For the same reason, Libros said, the district couldn't expand the proposed boundaries for Aki Kurose Middle, or move the Laurelhurst neighborhood inside the area assigned to Eckstein Middle School.

John Stanford International School also might have 80 seats open to students from outside its attendance area, rather than the 166 originally proposed.

District staff members also are recommending reopening five closed schools over the next few years — even McDonald Elementary, south of Green Lake. Some School Board members had questioned the need for that school, but Libros said Tuesday that without McDonald, the other schools in that area would not have enough space.

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or lshaw@seattletimes.com

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