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Medford middle school zoning choice explained

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune A new Medford middle school is being built at Central Medford High School on South Oakdale Avenue, leading to changes in school attendance boundaries.

Medford School District officials said the sole recommendation made Thursday to the school board for new middle school attendance zones was reached by consensus.

But what does it actually mean for families?

Members of the committee tasked with bringing a recommendation to the board answered that question during a public meeting Thursday. One of those members is Christy Clark, a Medford School District parent.

“This final recommendation has been two and half years in the making,” Clark wrote in an email to the newspaper. “I can promise the community that the members of the zoning committee poured over every detail, considered every possibility, and genuinely cared about every student and every neighborhood as we meticulously combed through data to come up with what we believe is the best balance of those priorities.”

After the board meeting, at which Clark spoke, the district released a treasure trove of information Friday, including a color-coded map outlining the proposed new boundaries of Hedrick, McLoughlin and Oakdale middle schools, and pie charts explaining demographic breakdowns for each.

With Hedrick currently housing 1,306 students to McLoughlin’s 1,298, the new zoning scenario, if approved, would shrink Hedrick’s population to 858 students, while 889 would go to McLoughlin. Meanwhile, 857 students would go to Oakdale.

This graphic shows the “feeding pattern” for Medford students from elementary schools to high school. Wilson Elementary students would divide between Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools at Crater Lake Avenue. The color square boxes represent school colors.

Feeder patterns designed for the committee recommendation shows students who attend Lincoln, Kennedy, Lone Pine, Roosevelt and Wilson elementary schools will go to Hedrick Middle School and they would all go to North Medford High School.

Students who attend Howard, Wilson, Jacksonville, Jackson, Griffin Creek and Ruch elementary schools would attend McLoughlin — but they wouldn’t all go to the same high school. Wilson and Howard students would attend North, while the rest of the elementaries would go to South.

Students who attend Jefferson, Oak Grove, Washington and Hoover elementary schools would go to Oakdale, but they won’t all go to the same high school.

The committee, per its charter, was allowed to change high school boundaries if necessary, which is why Roosevelt students would go to North Medford and all Jackson and Oak Grove students would go to South Medford.

The committee also recommended kindergarten through 12th-grade boundaries be examined in four to five years.

The feeder pattern flow chart indicates the middle school boundary for Wilson Elementary School would be split at Crater Lake Avenue (east of the split would go to Hedrick, west of line would go to Oakdale). The district said this became part of the recommendation after getting feedback from Wilson families who walk to Hedrick.

The new recommendation breaks down each middle school between gender, race and poverty levels. Oakdale would be 52% male, 48% female and contain no nonbinary students; it would be 61% white, 31% Hispanic and 8% identifying as another ethnicity. Seventy percent of students at the school would be living at the poverty level, while nearly 30% would be in another socioeconomic bracket.

In terms of gender, Hedrick would see a slight uptick in its female headcount, to 48%; it would, however, see its male head count decline slightly to 51%; the nonbinary population would dip from .78 to .2%.

Hedrick’s white population would rise slightly to 69%, its Hispanic population would remain virtually unchanged at 21%, and those who do not identify as either would rise slightly to 11%.

Hedrick’s student population from the current scenario to the new recommendation would swing the most from a socioeconomic perspective. While 42.6% are in poverty now, the school would see that level rise to 55% if the board approves the recommended scenario. Students at Hedrick who don’t identify as in poverty would dip from 57% to 45%.

Under the new recommendation, if approved, McLoughlin’s female head count would rise slightly to 48%, but its male headcount would dip slightly to 51% — so would nonbinary students, but they would stay under less than a percentage point.

McLoughlin’s white population would rise to 59% under the proposed new scenario. Its Hispanic population would decrease a few percentage points to 34%. Those who don’t identify as either would rise slightly to 8%.

McLoughlin’s poverty level would remain virtually unchanged at 71% — and so would students who say they’re in another socioeconomic level, at 28%.

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