Highline Public Schools sets White Center meeting on possible ballot measure

7 pm next Thursday (January 16) at the Evergreen campus cafeteria (830 SW 116th), it’s your chance to tell Highline Public Schools what you think should be done to deal with its growing crisis – old schools, overflowing. Here’s today’s announcement:

Facing serious challenges with school facilities, leaders from Highline Public Schools are asking citizens to weigh in on potential solutions.

“Last year the community came together to set bold goals for students,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “In order to meet those goals, we must provide a learning environment that allows students to experience excellent instruction and today’s learning technology.”

Highline’s student population is growing for the first time in over a decade, and the district is projected to see an additional 2,100 students over the next 8 to 10 years. Elementary schools are currently full, and there is no room for growth. In addition, there are a number of aging buildings that must be replaced or undergo major renovations. A few facts:

· Elementary schools have no room to reduce class sizes, even though the state is offering additional funding for smaller classes in grades K-3 starting next fall. If the district is unable to create more classroom space, it will have to turn away up to $2.2 million in state funding.

· All but one of the middle and high schools are over 50 years old and in need of replacement or major repairs. As the buildings age, repairs and maintenance are becoming more and more expensive, draining money away from the classroom. Aging infrastructure prevents the installation of educational technology.

District leaders are working to come up with a responsible solution to both issues. Highline Public Schools is seeking community input on how to accommodate enrollment growth and address conditions in aging school buildings. There are a number of opportunities for the public to get more information, take a closer look at potential solutions and provide feedback, including:

An online survey covering key issues and potential solutions, available mid-January on the district’s website. This tool is easy to access and is a convenient way to learn more about the issues ahead and share input and ideas. The survey will be posted at www.highlineschools.org/yourvoice.

Citizens are invited to three community meetings being held to gather input from community members. These meetings are an opportunity for citizens to hear details about the challenges ahead, give input on the proposed solutions and join with district leaders in shaping a meaningful and lasting solution.

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