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School District ponders border change

A 1,000-home development currently in the works sits entirely within the city of Bremerton but straddles the borders of two school districts, prompting both to discuss where the neighborhood’s students will go.

The West Hills Development is located on the border between the Bremerton School District and the South Kitsap School District (SKSD). Wednesday evening SKSD discussed making changes that would move the 193 homes in the southern side of the border into the Bremerton district.

The districts would either redraw the border or establish a system for students to move into the Bremerton district without a border change.

Kathryn Simpson supported moving the students to the other district to keep the community together, citing SKSD’s focus on family-friendly schools.

By forcing a portion of the development into a different district, Simpson worries they would be pulling students away from their neighbors.

“As much as it would be painful to lose those students, it’s the right thing to do for those families,” she said.

If the students remained in the South Kitsap School District, they would have to travel into the Bremerton School District before moving south again. Keeping the borders would also extend SKSD bus routes farther afield.

The board came to no immediate decision, and the districts have plenty of time to make a decision, with construction three to five years away.

In other business, the district approved a “memorandum of understanding” with the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Department regarding a joint project at Howe Farm.

The plan allows SKSD, the Washington State Univerity Master Gardeners’ program and the Kitsap Dog Parks Corp. to cooperatively utilize the 83 acre park that was once a family-run farm.

The program would allow students to grow plants and raise certain animals as part of other school programs. The students would receive hands-on experience away from the class room for the program.

The three board members present — Keith Garton, Jay Rosapepe and Simpson — approved the move unanimously.

“I love it,” Garton said. “It’s a great idea. It’s going to down a road we want to go.”

Port Orchard Independent reporter Justine Frederiksen contributed to this article.

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