PORT ORCHARD — To combat overcrowding in its elementary schools, the South Kitsap School District is working to restructure the district’s attendance boundaries.
On Nov. 29 and 30, an SKSD boundary committee had public meetings to inform district families of their plans for the 2018-19 school year. Although the plans are not finalized yet, the committee will present the proposal to interim superintendent Karst Brandsma, who will decide whether to present the proposal to the school board of directors. After having a chance to review, the board will decide if it will accept the changes.
“There’ll be multiple chances for you to weigh in,” said Jay Rosapepe, SKSD director of transportation.
“(We) want to get it done quickly so families who are impacted know well in advance.”
The committee considered 16 different options for restructuring, looking at the projected enrollment rates in the next three years. The plans they considered would have moved at least 270 students, or at the most, 690. Ultimately, the plan they decided to present to Brandsma would move 391 students.
“We had to look at the number of classrooms, capacity in the classrooms, number of students by grade … and we also had to look at special program needs,” Rosapepe said.
The proposal includes the following changes:
— 58 students moved from Sunnyslope to Sidney Glen, from the McCormick Woods area;
— 62 students moved from Sidney Glen to East Port Orchard, from the Tremont/Port Orchard Boulevard/Sidney/Bay Street area;
— 61 students moved from Sidney Glen to EPO from the Port Orchard Boulevard/SR-16/Tremont/ST-166 area;
— 59 students from EPO to Orchard Heights from the Beach Drive/Mile Hill/Olney area;
— 59 students from Orchard Heights to Manchester from the Mile Hill/Baby Doll/Woods area;
— 47 students from Orchard Heights to Manchester from the Baby Doll/Mile Hill/Beach Drive area;
— 13 students from Hidden Creek to Mullenix Ridge from the Lider/Spencer area, and;
— 32 students from Mullenix Ridge to Olalla from the Long Lake/Ebbert area.
The proposed changes do not affect South Colby or Burley Glenwood.
“One of the things we talked about in making this final decision is to have a long vision on it,” said Scott PaPa, a member of the committee.
“We know that displacement is not a good thing. There’s not a principal in this district that wants to lose any kids in their school. However, we know that to be better for all the students, something has to happen.”
Open enrollment will still be an option for students. It will be up to the principals of each elementary school to approve or deny requests, which is how the district’s open enrollment has always worked.
“Speaking with all the principals, they were very confident that this was something they could manage and have been managing … I’ve been nothing but impressed with their devotion to trying to make the best school for all the kids,” PaPa said.
One element the committee did not consider changing were the special programs in the schools. Anything other than the basic curriculum was not to be moved from the schools, and the classrooms devoted to those programs were not considered when the committee looked at classroom availability for each school.
For example, if one school had 30 classrooms — but one was used for music and one was used for special education — they considered that school as having 28 available classrooms.
The committee also took class sizes into account. The reduced class sizes leave K-3 with a 23-to-1 student-teacher ratio, fourth grade with 27-to-1, and fifth grade with 29-to-1.
The goal was to keep every school from reaching over-capacity for the next three school years, using projections from Greene Gasaway Architects.
The last time the district had an outside study project the following years’ enrollments, the committee said they were within one-half-of-1-percent accuracy.
SKSD is seeking community feedback on their proposal. Learn more about the plan, view an interactive map and fill out a survey at goo.gl/m1qgok. The survey is open until Dec. 8.