Demographer reports enrollment likely to increase

Demographer reports enrollment likely to increase
Posted on 10/15/2019
Continued population growth in the Puget Sound area means there will be more students enrolling in Tahoma schools over the next few years, according to research from demographer William Kendrick in a report to the Tahoma School Board.

Kendrick provided his demographic report to the school district in February 2019, but could not deliver it in person to the School Board until now, due to other commitments. He told the board that some of the data in the report has changed, but not enough to alter his conclusion: Tahoma will continue to grow, but slower than in previous years.

“I would expect growth in Tahoma over time,” he said, pointing to five- and 10-year projections. However, maximum estimated growth is not predicted to exceed 1,000 students in the next five years unless there are unexpected changes, such as a shift in the urban growth boundary that would open more areas for housing development. Kendrick said his moderate growth model indicates the district could add about 600 students in the next five years.

Kendrick offered pages of data about birth rates, home construction, the economy, and population trends. He also provided a chart that shows the average number of children per household in King County school districts. Tahoma has the highest number of children per household in the county by a wide margin, with 56 students per 100 homes, based on the 2010 census. He predicts the current average is higher.

The report will be useful as the district begins looking at enrollment trends and facilities needs over the next 10 years, when an ad hoc student housing committee begins its work. The committee will report back to the School Board in April with recommendations for accommodating enrollment growth.

In other business Oct. 8, the School Board:

*Approved the new district technology plan, which was developed with guidance from a Technology Model Review that took place last school year. The plan forms the basis for how technology will be used in the classroom to assist students. It is the basis for determining funding that is being requested in a Technology levy that the School Board will consider placing on the Feb. 11 election ballot. That decision will be made at the Oct. 22 School Board meeting.

*Reviewed proposed resolutions for a Technology levy and Educational Programs and Operations levy that will be voted on during the Oct. 22 meeting.

*Approved a contract to re-roof the playshed at Shadow Lake Elementary School. Garland Roofing is the successful bidder for the project, which will cost $41,565 and will be paid for using "warm, safe and dry" dollars from the 2013 bond measure.

*Approved installation of a glass-and-aluminum wall in the counseling and attendance office areas at Tahoma High School. The addition will reduce noise in the office areas. Skanska USA, which built the high school, will perform the installation at a cost of $45,905. The funds for this project are also coming from the 2013 bond measure.

*Approved purchase of five school buses that will replace buses that have reached the end of their useful service life. Three of the buses are full size and two are smaller buses that will be used for special education students. The buses cost $582,327.86, and are paid for using state bus depreciation funds.

*Reviewed Policy 3130, District Attendance Areas. The policy guides how the school district reviews school attendance areas and makes adjustments made necessary by population and enrollment changes. The changes allow the district to convene a housing committee as needed and adds two more criteria to consider for attendance area boundaries: Minimize disruption of students’ established learning programs; minimize the number of times a student must change school boundaries.

*Reviewed Policy 3120, Enrollment, to update requirements regarding enrollment of homeless students and students of military families.
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