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Everett School District to change Woodside Elementary and Silver Lake Elementary boundaries to ease overcrowding

Everett School District enrollment has grown from about 8,000 students in 1951 to more than 19,000 students in 2015.
Everett School District enrollment has grown from about 8,000 students in 1951 to more than 19,000 students now. Image courtesy of Everett Public Schools.

From an Everett Public Schools News Release.

Woodside Elementary is the district’s largest elementary school with 800 students now enrolled.

Starting next fall the Everett School District will be making boundary changes to help with overcrowding at Woodside Elementary School.

Some Woodside students may move to Silver Lake Elementary until more permanent elementary classroom space can be added in the region.

Meetings are scheduled on February 26th, March 6th, and March 9th for Woodside and Silver Lake communities.

Woodside Elementary has a capacity for 540 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Today the 34 year old school and its ten portable classrooms are the learning home for more than 800 students.

Since about 1990, the Everett School District has steadily grown to its more than 19,000 students this year. Most of that growth has been in the southern portion of the district.

Mill Creek Elementary School now has about 680 students enrolled, which is 120 more than the capacity for which the building was intended. The school utilizes five portables to accommodate the students.

Overall, the district is short space for 566 students. Put another way, today, the over-enrollment at Everett School District elementary schools is enough to entirely fill a new elementary school.

Last year’s failed capital bond proposal included enough classroom space to build a new elementary school.

The district has a proposal to help ease Woodside’s congestion until more permanent elementary classroom space can be added in the region. This proposal is for approximately 125-150 students now in the very northern portion of the Woodside attendance area to attend Silver Lake Elementary instead.

These are students living in the Heatherwood, The Reserve at Mill Creek Town Center, and Hawthorne apartments, Nature’s Landing condominiums, and the Woodside Walk neighborhood.

February 26, 2015, Silver Lake PTA meeting.

To better understand this proposal, the Silver Lake PTA is scheduling a portion of its 7 pm meeting for this topic on Thursday, February 26th.

The families slated to join the Silver Lake community are physically closer to Silver Lake now than they are to Woodside,” notes Executive Director of Facilities and Operations Mike Gunn.

The bus ride they will have next fall will cover less distance than the one they now travel to reach Woodside.”

March 6, 2015, Heatherwood Apartment complex meeting.

On Friday, March 6th, the district will meet with families of students scheduled to move next fall. The meeting is an open house drop in session from 4:30 to 5:30 pm in the Heatherwood Apartment complex.

We are using our calling system to reach families in that area so they have a chance to check out the maps, learn more about Silver Lake, trace their school bus routes for next year and make sure we’ve thought through the details of this transition proposal,” said Gunn.

March 9, 2015, Jackson High School meeting.

On Monday, March 9th, at Henry M. Jackson High School, from 7-8 pm families from Silver Lake and Woodside are invited to another opportunity to help the district be aware of logistics necessary for boundary changes starting next fall.

What are some solutions to overcrowding in the southern portion of the district?

“This is not a long-term solution to overcrowding,” explained Gunn. “It does not make the pain of rapid growth go away; it more equitably distributes the pain of enrollment growth.”

In February and April of 2014, the district’s capital bond proposal included enough classroom space to build a new elementary school and make additions to some elementary schools’ and high schools’ classroom space. It also included modernization and safety upgrades throughout the district.

Twice in 2014 the majority of voters said ‘yes’ to that bond proposal,” Gunn emphasizes. “However, a 58 percent ‘yes’ vote does not meet the 60 percent supermajority required to build school classroom space.

Gunn added, “The board has talked about when to put another bond proposal before voters. They are putting a lot of time and care into that conversation before making any future bond decision. For the time being at least, we are making interim adjustments to ease overcrowding."

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