Projects proposed to ease elementary school overcrowding issue | Mukilteo Schools
In last month’s column, I told you about the growth we have seen in our elementary school enrollment and how large our schools have become as a result.
Since that published, our October enrollment count came as a particular surprise. We now have more students in our elementary classrooms than what our most recent forecast had predicted for next October!
Our facility planners have been working on this issue for a number of years. Also playing a role in that planning were many parents and members of our community.
You may recall that we had measures on the ballot in both 2006 and 2008 that proposed to add classroom space through the construction of a new elementary school. Those ballot measures fell just short of the 60-percent supermajority required for approval.
Several months after the 2008 election, we formed a committee of parents and staff to look at the issue of enrollment in our elementary schools to come up with ideas on what could be done to provide more classroom space for students, short of building a new school.
The group discussed a number of options, such as making changes to attendance boundaries, adding portables to school campuses and leasing space.
In the end, the group determined that the only way to solve the problem was to add both portables and permanent space.
I meet regularly with a group of parents who represent each of our schools. We get together about five times each year to discuss a variety of issues, such as school curriculum, state testing and other assessments, and nutrition services.
With our growing enrollment, school facility planning also has been a common topic of discussions that have provided us with additional insight about the issue.
Another public process that helped greatly in developing our latest plan for addressing the problem of overcrowding was a pair of public meetings held last spring.
We talked about the issue and listened to comments, suggestions and questions that were very helpful in developing a list of project ideas that were proposed to the school board in September.
That wasn’t the end of the public involvement, however. More detailed information about each of the projects in the proposal was taken to the group of parents during our first meeting of this school year and also was presented at a second pair of public meetings held in mid-October.
Again, those attending came through with more great ideas and comments. In fact, the final list of projects adopted by the school board during its last meeting included some that were added largely because of the public comments that were made during those meetings.
In February, the voters in the school district will consider a list of proposed construction and improvement projects that evolved after many meetings and discussions among parents and community members over many years.
All of them, those who simply attended a public meeting to those who studied the issue and met regularly as an advisory committee over the course of several months, deserve a big thank you for their service to our community.