NK schools faces redistricting due to growth

North Kitsap School District superintendent Laurynn Evans presented a proposed Redistricting Plan based on population changes at last week’s board meeting.

The goal is to balance the population in each of the five districts.

The 2020 census counted 55,440 people in the district – an increase of 3,560 people since the 2010 census. The new count shows that three districts experienced population increases from 8.6% to 21.6%.

The census shows that 10 years of growth has resulted in unbalanced director districts.

District 1 – 11,054 people, up 21.6%

District 2 – 10,028, up 8.6%

District 3 – 9,581, up 3.9%

District 4 – 9,734, down 4.1%

District 5 – 10,043, up 9.7%

NKSD is considering changing boundaries to achieve an ideal population of 10,088 per district.

Since the new census data was released last August, NKSD initiated the redistricting project and is developing draft scenarios for the director districts that must be redrawn to achieve population balance. Redistricting must not be done to favor or disfavor a protected class or political party.

Requirements also state that districts should: be as compact as possible, preserve communities of interest and observe existing or natural boundaries and not split census blocks.

A public hearing on the map will take place March 3, with the school board expected to adopt it March 24.

Meanwhile, Evans said the district is awaiting an announcement from Gov. Jay Inslee regarding the mask mandate.

“It looks like there will be some type of off-ramping around the mask mandate. We have no idea what this means for schools quite yet,” she said.

The district cannot make the decision.

“It is a state mandate, it carries the force of law, and non-compliance leads to a lack of funding for our schools,” Evans said.

Evans also thanked the public for approving two school levies recently. “I am grateful to the support of the community for their belief in what we do for our students and for our schools,” she said.

The next school board meeting is set for March 3 at 5 p.m. on Zoom.