The Puyallup School District is currently reviewing boundaries for its schools as overcrowding takes its toll.
Over the past five years, the Puyallup School District has grown from serving 20,500 students to 22,600 students. Another 1,300 students are expected to enroll in the next five years.
“Currently, the school buildings in Puyallup are unable to house all students,” Puyallup School Board president Kathy Yang said in a district video. “Our district ranks very high in Washington state when it comes to the number of temporary classrooms or portables we have on school campuses.”
Schools have used staff offices and even custodial closets as instructional rooms.
Voters passed a $292-million capital projects bond in 2015 to expand and replace elementary schools and build a new one — Dessie Evans Elementary — with a capacity of 1,080 students. But it’s because of the construction projects that the boundaries have to change, staff said.
A Boundary Review Committee made up of 36 community members, staff and students was created in 2016 to review the capacity of each new school and compare it to the number of residents living near the school in the 54-square-mile district. The committee has proposed:
So what area will see the most change? Region 2 — specifically Zeiger and Firgrove — will see significant changes as the district fills Dessie Evans Elementary, which is expected to open in fall 2019. According to the draft boundary proposal, Firgrove Elementary would see a net decrease of 337 students, while Zeiger Elementary would see a net decrease of 158 students.
Puyallup resident Heather Cogger expressed frustration that the district is still using South Meridian as a boundary divider for the high school map. Currently, Cogger’s home is within Emerald Ridge High School boundary lines.
“Our kids are being sent to the high school geographically the farthest from our house,” she said.
The district is asking the community for more feedback on the proposed changes. Community members may do so at puyallup.thoughtexchange.com/invitation.
“Our committee truly believes that we don’t have a monopoly on great ideas, so that’s why we’ve come to the community to aid us in making some good choices for our district,” Boundary Review Committee co-chair Mark Bledsoe said.
After feedback is collected and analyzed, the committee will present a plan to the school board in the fall. Changes would go into effect starting in the 2019-20 school year.
Upcoming boundary meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at each school: