As the Sumner School District is in the midst of figuring out solutions to remedy the possibility of nearly 2,000 new students entering the district in the next 10 years, a $145.6 million capital facility bond is listed on ballots headed to voters’ mailboxes Jan. 22.
One of the projects the district hope to accomplish if the Feb. 9 bond measure passes is the construction of an early learning center for preschoolers and kindergartners in the Sumner Valley, which would be completed in the fall of 2018.
While the Sumner Valley hasn’t felt the effects of overcrowding just yet, district officials hope that pulling preschoolers and kindergartners from Daffodil Valley and Maple Lawn elementary to attend the proposed early learning center will open 11 to 12 classrooms between the two schools and enhance learning from a young age.
The early learning center is proposed to be open and connective, focusing on rhythm and nature, and simplicity and enrichment that connects with young learners, said Sarah Gillispie, the district’s communications manager.
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“It’s part of our longtime commitment to early learning,” she said.
The proposed space will provide educators a chance to come together with a focus solely on preschoolers and kindergartners.
“The early learning center will be designed with a crucial phase of brain development in mind,” said Laurie Sjolund, the district’s Early Learning Program administrator. “Educators can come together and focus on preschool and kindergarten. They would team together, work together, and learn together. It would bring together staff (occupational therapy and physical therapy) and speech, all to focus on early learning.”
According to Gillispie, in three years, Daffodil Valley will have 79 students without classroom space, and Maple Lawn will be short 34 students should the Feb. 9 bond measure not receive the required 60 percent super majority to pass.
“The early learning center relieves pressure on our elementary schools,” Sjolund added. “It’s a great opportunity to focus on doing what’s best for children from the start.”
The proposed bond measure would mean a proposed tax increase of approximately 45 cents per $1,000 and cost approximately $90 per year for a home valued at $200,000.
The last time voters approved a bond measure for the district was 2007.