Enrollment exploding in Lake Washington School District
October 4, 2013
By Ari Cetron
New: Oct. 4, 12:17 p.m.
There are 842 more students enrolled in Lake Washington schools than there were last year, Superintendent Traci Pierce said at a Sept. 9 school board meeting. The number brings the district to a total of 25,922 students.
Pierce said the enrollment increase is even greater than the 608 students the district had projected.
“We are seeing significant, real growth,” Pierce said.
She noted that these were preliminary numbers and that they may change as individual schools review their own numbers and clear up any bookkeeping errors. Final numbers will likely be available later this month.
Pierce laid out the numbers, showing growth across all grade levels. Last year’s kindergarten class consisted of 1,940 students; this year it’s 2,032. Grades one through three grew from 5,469 to 6,614. Grades four and five grew from 4,094 to 4,312. Grades six through eight grew from 5,729 to 5,884, and grades nine through 12 grew from 6,848 to 7,080.
Pierce said the increase in numbers has district officials scrambling to find seats for all of the new students.
“We are actively looking at our short-term measures,” Pierce said.
Board members seized on the numbers as an explanation for the need for more classroom space envisioned by a proposed $755 million bond measure to be voted on in February.
The number of students added this year is roughly the same number of students that would fit into 1.5 elementary schools, board member Chris Carlson said.
Board member Nancy Bernard noted other problems with the expanding enrollment.
“These types of enrollment costs are difficult,” she said, “particularly when you don’t have any land and it takes years to build a new building.”