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Boundary changes

Sunrise and Periwinkle elementary schools would begin sending all their outgoing fifth-graders to Calapooia Middle School under a new boundary change proposal.

Right now, both elementary schools split their outgoing students between North Albany and Calapooia middle schools. That could change as soon as this fall, if the Albany School Board approves.

Jon Dilbone, data and technology coordinator for Greater Albany Public Schools, gave a presentation on the proposal to the board on Monday. 

Board members will take up the proposal on April 23 and could decide to vote that night. 

The plan involves two areas of town. The first is an area shaped roughly like an upside-down "J" and encompasses neighborhoods both north and east of Sunrise.

The boundaries are the railroad line to the west and 34th Avenue to the south. The eastern border runs from 34th and Ferry north to Southwest Queen Avenue, then continuing east to Hill Street and then north again to Pacific Boulevard. 

The area is part of the Sunrise Elementary School attendance area, but students within it are slated to go on to North Albany Middle School, while other areas of the Sunrise boundary go to Calapooia. 

The second affected area is a rectangular spot north of Periwinkle, between Geary and Waverly, from Queen south to 18th Avenue.

Students in that zone used to go to South Shore Elementary School, but the district switched them a few years ago to Periwinkle to balance enrollment. The original plan was to send everyone at Periwinkle to Calapooia, but the former South Shore students, who had been on track originally to go to NAMS, never made the change. The boundary adjustment would send all Periwinkle fifth-graders on to Calapooia, which was the original intent.

Sunrise and Periwinkle are the only two schools in the district who split their students between different middle schools, said Russ Allen, the district's director of business. The proposal keeps student cohorts together and helps balance middle school populations: Calapooia's has been declining in recent years while North Albany is scrambling for room.

If the board decides to make the change, Allen said, the district will continue to bus students who live in either of the areas to North Albany Middle School, but only for two years. That allows this year's sixth-graders to continue at NAMS until they finish eighth grade, if they choose.

This year's fifth-graders also could catch a bus to NAMS as sixth-graders, but only for the two years, Allen said. As eighth-graders, they'd need to find their own transportation in order to stay.

"We're trying to give parents as much choice as possible, understanding there's a limit on the transportation side," he said.

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