Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lake Washington School District plans for growing enrollment

Actions for 2014-15 outlined; all attendance boundaries to be reviewed
Redmond, Wash. – Lake Washington School District outlined today the specific actions it will take over the next year and beyond to accommodate its rapidly growing enrollment. The total number of students served by the district grew by over 1,600 in the last two years, more than any other King County school district. An increase of approximately 4,000 students is expected over eight years.
The district proposed two bond measures this year, in February and April, to provide funding to build new schools. Neither measure gained the supermajority (60%) needed to pass although both received a majority of votes.
“We have a number of actions planned for next year, many of which would have been needed no matter the outcome of the bond measures,” noted Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent. “However, without the potential of new school buildings in two years, we will also have to determine additional actions for the future.”
The actions planned for 2014-15 include:
·         Continue the temporary boundary adjustment between Rosa Parks and Wilder Elementary Schools
·         Implement the planned temporary boundary  for new housing developments involving Rockwell, Einstein & Mann Elementary Schools
·         Begin a district-wide process to review and adjust all school attendance boundaries, for implementation in 2015-16
·         Add four portable classrooms each at Mann and Wilder Elementary Schools, and add two at Redmond Elementary School
·         Limit All Day Kindergarten sections as needed
·         Move Rockwell Elementary School’s preschool to another location
·         Move the Mead Elementary Learning Center program for special education students to McAuliffe Elementary School
·         Begin a new Quest program for gifted students at Blackwell Elementary School, serving students who would previously have gone to Alcott Elementary School for Quest
·         Send Sammamish area students entering middle school Quest in 2014-15 to Evergreen Middle School instead of Redmond Middle School
·         Limit variance approvals at all levels
·         Modify facilities at Redmond and Evergreen Middle Schools to increase capacity  Read More>>

The district-wide process to adjust attendance boundaries is expected to rebalance enrollment. The goal is to maximize the use of current classroom space by moving students from overcrowded schools to schools that have some space available or where additional portable classrooms could be added. The district currently has more students than permanent classroom space and some school campuses cannot accommodate any additional portable classrooms.
A process to determine the new boundaries will begin in the fall of 2014, with board approval of new boundaries occurring in time for kindergarten enrollment in February 2015 for the 2015-16 school year.  The boundary process may leave in place the current temporary boundary changes or could further modify those school boundaries.
Other actions that may be needed between 2015 and 2017 include limits to all day kindergarten, continued limits to variance approvals, moving district programs to other schools, adding portables and modifying the facilities at Juanita High School to increase capacity.
At its May 5 work session, the district’s board of directors discussed potential funding for some of the items called for in these actions. A total of $40 million in unallocated funds is available from bonds sold from the 2006 measure as well as unspent state construction funding assistance. Using funds from either source would require that the board hold a public hearing and vote to repurpose the use of the funds.
The board had previously indicated that unspent funds from the 2006 bond measure could be used to support pool and athletic field partnerships, if a bond measure passed. Board members at the work session noted that this interest was contingent on passing a bond, which did not happen.
“Unfortunately, we need that money now for classroom space,” noted Board President Jackie Pendergrass.
The board has not made any decisions concerning the potential for any future ballot measure.


Anonymous said...

Why the LWSD Bond Did Not Pass . . .

Why did only 20% of parents vote? It’s time for the LWSD and its school board to address why Kirkland has more school buildings with fewer kids enrolled at the elementary, middle and high school levels, yet it continues to want to spend more money there. Many parents could not in good conscience vote to rebuild Juanita High and add a new STEM school to Kirkland when the Redmond and Sammamish students are being treated like second class-citizens. It is time to begin the planning and immediate spending on these kids.

Kirkland has 12 elementary schools averaging 400 enrolled students (Thoreau has only 280 students!) while Sammamish has only 5 elementary schools averaging 500 students and Redmond has only 10 elementary schools averaging 540 students (a 20% and 30% increase, respectively, over the Kirkland schools). I suspect Kirkland has smaller class sizes then the 30+ students in our overcrowded Sammamish and Redmond Elementary school classrooms. Kirkland has three small middle schools (with fewer than 600 enrolled students), Redmond Middle has 1,000 students, and Inglewood has over 1,100 students!. Kirkland has two high schools, each with under 1,500 students.

Now ask how many Sammamish and Redmond kids are being educated in portables with poor ventilation and without running water or bathrooms? Evergreen Middle, Rockwell, Rosa Parks, Alcott, etc. – so many kids in so many portables! Why do the Redmond and Sammamish schools have to run two or three staggered lunches and recesses? Because there are too many students in these buildings. This is really unfair to these kids and the teachers and staff.

The majority of the 4,000 students that the district speaks of are already here, in Redmond and Sammamish – look at the pregnant moms, toddlers, preschoolers –and not a single available classroom in these areas. Take the Juanita rebuild and the new STEM school off the bond, add 5 new elementary, a middle and even consider a high school for all the kids who are going to be coming through the pipeline–parents will stand behind the district and will vote YES!

Bob Yoder said...

I remember the district saying they would have $10 Million left over from 2006 that could be allocated to the pool if the bond passed, BUT NOT $40 MILLION. Where did the additional $30 Million come from? Out of the blue? State funded construction?
The district needs to be transparent and they are not. Their lack of transparency comes back to bite them in elections!

Anonymous said...

Good question, Bob. I hope you will/have asked Dr. Pierce and will post her response if she gives one!

Kathryn Reith said...

Bob, you missed part of the sentence in the press release, which read: "A total of $40 million in unallocated funds is available from bonds sold from the 2006 measure as well as unspent state construction funding assistance." The $40 million is made up of $12 million unspent from the 2006 bond measure and $28 million in money received or anticipated from state construction funding assistance. The state system requires the district to provide full funding for any project, then reimburses districts after the fact.

Bob Yoder said...

Ms. Reith - The $28 million in anticipated state funding assistance was never released to the public until AFTER the elections.