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Bend-La Pine parents weigh in on school attendance area options

Three maps, survey posted online; changes to start in fall of 2021

(Update: Adding video, comments from meeting)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As Bend La Pine schools prepares to open a new high school on the southeast side of Bend, it's looking at new attendance boundaries.

A trio of open houses are middle schools Tuesday night were the first chance for parents to give feedback on the three different options for school boundaries.

The options largely affect those already on the southeast side of town, where the new high school opens in the fall of 2021.

A member of the review committee, Janette King, attended the open house at Cascade Middle School. She said her son will spend his freshman year at Bend High, before moving to the new high school.

The scenario is a concern many parents at the open house shared.

"The reality is that a lot of their friends will be going to the new school, so it's not like they are going to a new school in a different state," King said. "They've got a bunch of friends and people they know with them."

"Going to the new school is not as scary as it seems. For some kids they really enjoy that. It's brand new facilities. All of the equipment is going to be brand new. They're building a new CTE (career technical education building, all that equipment is brand new. That's pretty cool for the teachers, and the kids."

The new high school's principal, Chris Boyd, said the idea is to keep each school's attendance balanced.

"We need to balance the enrollment in our schools, to make sure that whatever school that you attend in Bend-La Pine, you are not at a school that's over-crowded -- that you're feeling that you're known, that the people in the school know you, that you are a part of that local school community," Boyd said. "At the high school level, I think that it is important to bring our numbers down."

Boyd added the target enrollment number for Bend's larger high schools will be 1,350 students at each.

The Bend-La Pine Schools' Attendance Area Review Committee on pm Tuesday invited interested community members to offer input about the three potential middle and high school attendance area maps during six upcoming open house-style meetings.

The proposed changes won't take effect until the 2021-22 school year.

Tuesday's meetings took place at Cascade, Pilot Butte and Sky View middle schools.

Other Meetings are set for:

Thursday, December 5 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • High Desert Middle School
  • Pacific Crest Middle School

Monday, December 9 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • Three Rivers School

At the drop-in style events, community members are able to review three potential map scenarios, speak with committee members and provide feedback about the options.

Community members also are be able to share input through an online survey, which will be open until Friday, Dec. 13 on the district's Attendance Area Review webpage.

New attendance areas will define the attendance area for Bend-La Pine Schools’ new high school in southeast Bend opening in fall of 2021 and redraw attendance areas throughout the district to balance enrollment and prevent overcrowding at area middle and high schools.

Bend-La Pine Schools Assistant Superintendent Lora Nordquist explained to NewsChannel 21 earlier Tuesday how the coming changes will affect students.

"We'll have hundreds of students affected across middle schools and high schools," Nordquist said. "So you think about the idea of our high schools, with thousands of students at them, and we need to move a significant portion of them to the new school. We'll only open with grades 9th and 10th, so students who are going into 11th and 12th grade that are scheduled in the new boundary area won't move."

The committee will consider comments and survey results while drafting their recommendation. The committee is expected to make its final recommendation to the superintendent in spring of 2020. Learn more about the process at Bend-La Pine Schools’ attendance area review webpage.

If students have an area preference they are still able to submit an area change request if they want to be in a different boundary.

Nordquist said after the series of public meetings, the committee will meet again in December, and a final map of attendance area boundaries will be selected by January.

Bend / Government / News / Top Stories

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

Jacob Larsen

Jacob Larsen is a reporter and weather anchor for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jacob here.

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