2.19.15: School board to vote on moving some sixth graders to junior highs
2.19.15: School board to vote on moving some sixth graders to junior highs
Posted on 02/19/2015

The Puyallup School Board is scheduled to vote February 23 on a plan to address surging enrollment growth, especially at the elementary level, by moving sixth graders at some of the most heavily impacted schools to junior high schools with available space.

 

The board meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Glacier View Junior High School, 12807 184th St. E., Puyallup. The junior high school driveway entrance is just north of the Emerald Ridge High School entrance.

 

The board vote comes after a series of community forums held in January and February at Zeiger, Woodland, Sunrise, and Shaw Road elementary schools — four of the sites that will be affected by the sixth-grade moves.

 

During the forums Superintendent Tim Yeomans outlined the impacts of growth in the district and the proposed plan to relieve overcrowding, which has been under discussion by the school board since November.

 

Yeomans and other educators also answered questions about the proposed plan, in which sixth graders would be integrated on junior high campuses starting this fall.

 

The moves are designed to be temporary, Yeomans said, until more classroom space is available on crowded elementary campuses.

 

The recommended plan, which would be reviewed annually, proposes:

 

2015-16

  • Move Zeiger Elementary sixth graders to Ballou Junior High School.

2016-17

  • Move Woodland Elementary sixth graders to Aylen Junior High.
  • Move Sunrise Elementary sixth graders to Ferrucci Junior High.
  • Move Shaw Road Elementary sixth graders to Ferrucci Junior High.

2017-18

  • Move Edgerton Elementary sixth graders to Glacier View Junior High.
  • Move Northwood Elementary sixth graders to Edgemont Junior High.
  • Move Mt. View Elementary sixth graders to Edgemont Junior High.

With more than 22,250 students in 32 schools, the Puyallup School District is the second largest school district in Pierce County and the eighth largest in the state.

 

The district experienced a year’s worth of enrollment growth in the first month of this school year alone, and staff projects at least 1,600 more students, many of them at the elementary level, in the next five years.

 

In some cases, schools are serving several hundred students beyond the number they were built to serve. Zeiger Elementary, for example, serves 830 students this fall in a school built for 550 children. Woodland Elementary serves nearly 700 students in a school also built for 550.

 

It will be 11 years next month since Puyallup School District voters last approved a school bond, which pays for construction projects such as new schools and other capital improvements.

 

Voters have since rejected four proposed school bond measures — two in 2007, one in 2009, and another in 2013.

School bonds are not to be confused with school levies. Last February voters approved two school levies that addressed capital maintenance items like roof repairs and replacements, expansion of full-day kindergarten, building system improvements, and technology upgrades.

 

The school board has had discussions in recent months about the possibility of returning to voters with a school bond proposal as early as November 2015.

 

Meanwhile, a 27-member Citizens Bond Planning Committee made up of students, educators, and community members has been meeting over the past year to review facility needs districtwide and develop a list of projects for the board to consider including on the next school bond.

 

The committee is scheduled to present its recommended school bond package at the March 16 school board meeting.