Committee begins study of enrollment, facilities

Committee begins study of enrollment, facilities
Posted on 10/28/2019
Student enrollment and housing committee
A committee of Tahoma parents, staff and community members began its work on Oct. 16 to explore how to best provide classroom and support spaces for students during the next 10 years.

The Citizens Housing Advisory Committee is reviewing student enrollment growth history and demographic data that includes growth projections. The committee’s task is to create options that the School Board can consider so that students have the facilities they need.

“We are going to be called upon to really be thinkers,” Tahoma Elementary School Principal and committee co-facilitator Jerry Gaston told the group. “We’re the idea people. … The big picture is what we’re after.”

Most of the first meeting was devoted to providing committee members with an overview of their task, including parameters for the housing plan or plans they will present to the School Board in April. The committee is asked to recommend 10-year housing options that consider the following:

*Board policy 3130, District Attendance Areas.
*State law, union contracts, board policies.
*A variety of student housing options that include a combination of brick & mortar buildings, portable classrooms and possible reconfiguration of teaching spaces.
*Transparency and accountability.
*Sustainability of current and future facilities.
*District property inventory.
*Long-term continuity of District program locations.
*Demographic projections.
*Community impacts.
*Implications for other District facilities such as Central Services, Food Service, Transportation, Maintenance, and Technology.

The committee will use data from demographer William Kendrick, who was hired by the school district to assemble historic enrollment data and forecasts. Kendrick predicts continued enrollment growth, but at a pace that is slower than in previous years.

In addition to the committee’s work on a long-range plan, a subcommittee will examine how to accommodate enrollment growth at Lake Wilderness and Tahoma Elementary schools, which are nearing capacity and need adjustments for next school year.

Altogether, the committee includes more than 35 parent representatives, staff and School Board members, students, and non-parent community members.
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