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Medford school board considers new attendance boundaries

Under the latest Medford School District proposal released Thursday, students from elementary schools in the green area would attend Oakdale Middle School in fall 2023; students in the gold area would attend McLoughlin Middle School; and students in the red area schools would attend Hedrick Middle School.
Brad Earl, assistant superintendent of operations for the Medford School District, explains a committee's recommendation for new attendance zone boundaries at a school board meeting at North Medford High School on Thursday night. Kevin Opsahl/Mail Tribune
The recommendation, crafted by a committee with public input, will get another hearing May 19 before a decision expected June 2

The committee tasked with rezoning Medford’s attendance boundaries to accommodate a third middle school in the city has recommended a single plan to the School Board.

The Medford School District board considered the proposal — a "variation“ of four previous scenarios — for the boundaries that will carve out a spot for the up and coming Oakdale Middle School, set to open in the fall of 2023.

The recommendation keeps an even distribution in student population between the three middle schools, with 857 attending Oakdale, 858 going to Hedrick and 889 going to McLoughlin.

Students who attend Jefferson, Oak Grove, Washington and Hoover elementary schools would go to Oakdale. Most students attending Oakdale would go to South Medford High School, but Hoover Elementary pupils, would split between North and South high schools.

The scenario also takes into consideration feedback from families, which is why the committee chose to keep Hoover split along the high school boundary.

That is not to say the high school boundary was not changed — the committee recommended that, per its charter. Under the new recommendation, the high school boundary was adjusted so that all of Jackson goes to South, all of Oak Grove goes to South, and all of Roosevelt goes to North.

At its Thursday night meeting, the board convened in the commons at North Medford High School, where it will also hold a public hearing on the proposed recommendation two weeks from now.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to give feedback regarding new middle school attendance zones,” Superintendent Bret Champion began. “We read and considered every single comment that came our way and included those thoughts in our recommendation.”

The recommendation, known as B2T2, combines parts of plans shown to the public in numerous “Gallery Walk” events held last month.

The attendance zoning committee — composed of district officials and parents — met over dinner two nights this week and considered not only the feedback, but used a scoring rubric with several objectives, including demographics, that were supposed to be met.

“After much conversation, B2T2 emerged as the only scenario that fully or partially met all five objectives,” the district wrote in a detailed explanation explaining the recommendation online.

During Thursday night’s school board meeting, committee members Brad Earl, assistant superintendent of operations for the district; Ron Havniear, the district’s director of facilities and leadership development; and Christy Clark, a Medford School District parent, all gave a formal presentation to the board explaining the recommendation.

There were no public comments on any topic during the meeting, which was billed as a work session and not a regular meeting.

Champion’s letter spoke about the sensitivities of attendance zoning, a topic not debated in a major way since 1996.

“We know that attendance boundary transitions can be challenging, and that this will be a big change for many of our families,” the superintendent wrote. “We are committed to make the transition as smooth as possible, and we'll be communicating more information as next year nears.”

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno