Richland School District offer options for new boundaries

RICHLAND, Wash. - Richland has tried to balance the number of kids in elementary schools with a booming population in south Richland and now, the boundaries are set to be shifted. KEPR learned a year from now, hundreds of students will be in different schools as Richland opens its tenth elementary.

"We naturally assumed they would be going to that elementary school, but it turns out there is a boundary and we're a block outside of that," said dad, Clayton Fowler.

Clayton Fowler has kids going to Tapteal instead of Wiley, but now the Richland school district are drawing up different options for school boundaries as it prepares to add a tenth elementary school. Staff presented four options to the public, with the potential to displace the kids inside nearly 2,000 homes. The new school will be near Westcliffe and for those in south Richland, a closer school means more convenience.

"I'm thrilled because it's closer to home and for her to make friends that live in the same area and be closer to the school, would socially be a huge plus for her," said mom, Maria Waddell.

Maria Waddell moved to a neighborhood off Keene Road, with the hopes of having her daughter go to White Bluffs, just down the road, but instead, she's zoned for Lewis and Clark Elementary, near Jadwin.

"It's a bit of a headache, we were unprepared for the zoning we did have," said Waddell.

And that is the frustrating thing for parents I spoke with: the unknown.

"It could potentially be a big deal for a lot of parents in the area, if there is a change in boundary and having to bus the kids to a further location," said Fowler.

Maria tells me many of her neighbors in Richland have opted out of the public school system all together.

"I think some of the challenges were that they weren't attending their neighborhood school and as opposed to bus them to a place they might not be comfortable with, they opted to go to a private school instead," said Waddell.

"At this point, I would hope that they can stay there through the grades Tapteal goes to and don't have any issues, but I guess we'll see what happens," said Fowler.

Richland school board staff tell KEPR they will hold two more committee meetings to decide on which option is best. A public forum will be heard the second week of September, where you can voice your opinion.