Our district is growing l Mukilteo Schools

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | May 01, 2019

With the end of the school year approaching, it’s a time when schools are planning year-end celebrations and when this year’s graduates are becoming anxious about the big step they will soon take to the next phase of their young lives. This is also the time of year when plans are being made for the next school year and beyond.

An important issue at this time of year, for example, is the process for estimating how many students we are likely to have next September. Using that information, we then can determine how many teachers we will need to hire this summer and how to allocate our classrooms so we can accommodate the number of students we are expecting.

That planning process depends heavily on an enrollment forecast that is prepared by a consultant who studies population trends, analyzes birth rates, researches housing developments in the area, and looks at many other factors to give us a projection of how many students will be enrolled in our schools next year and in the years to come.

One thing that is clear from those projections is that the Mukilteo School District continues to be among the fastest growing school districts in the Puget Sound area. Although we just added two new school buildings in recent years, that additional classroom space has already been filled. Much of that is due to the fact that with the added classrooms, we could finally offer much-needed full-day kindergarten.

What’s more, as we look further ahead, we see other issues that will increase the need for more classrooms. One example is that we are continuing to reduce the average class size in kindergarten through third grade in response to state legislative mandates.

The consultant who prepares our enrollment forecasts predicted in his most recent report that enrollment in our schools is likely to increase by more than 1,300 students during the next 10 years. To put that in perspective, our elementary schools typically have space for about 600 students, our middle schools about 900 students, and each of our two large comprehensive high schools has about 2,000 students.

Put another way, our current enrollment reached 15,244 students last fall. According to our latest forecast, total enrollment will reach 16,000 students five years from now and will hit about 16,500 students in 2028. During that time, elementary enrollment is predicted to increase by about 700 students, middle school enrollment will go up about 250 students, and total high school enrollment will increase by about 400 students.

Predicting the future is never an exact science, but looking ahead down the road we are traveling, we can see with certainty that there are challenges ahead. With our schools already full and with more students already on their way, we know that something will need to be done so we are ready when the future arrives.

 

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