Six Tacoma elementary schools will have new attendance boundaries this fall, following action by the Tacoma School Board.
At its Jan. 28 meeting, the board signed off on committee recommendations that will alter the attendance boundaries of those schools and establish boundaries for the new Wainwright Intermediate School scheduled to open this fall.
The new Wainwright, under construction in Fircrest, is designed to serve students in grades four through eight. It will open this fall for students in grades four through six. Seventh grade will be added in fall 2017 and eighth grade in fall 2018.
357Projected number of students affected
The elementary schools affected are Arlington, Edison, Manitou Park, Whittier (reconfigured as a primary school for students in preschool through grade three), DeLong and Franklin. Their total student populations represent about 10 percent of the school district’s total enrollment.
The boundary revision committee, which included parents and principals from each affected school, worked to balance enrollment and demographics at each affected school and to minimize the number of students who will be impacted by the changes. In addition to race, the committee looked at the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch (a marker for poverty), special education students and other categories.
According to committee documents, the redrawn boundary lines will affect 357 of 2,900 students. The affected families will be notified by the school district.
Some examples of the changes:
▪ DeLong had 661 elementary students living within its boundaries, but the number is projected to drop to 464.
▪ Franklin, which had 309, will grow to 379, thanks to students formerly assigned to DeLong.
▪ Another 127 students who formerly would have attended DeLong will be assigned to Wainwright or Whittier.
6Number of elementary schools with redrawn attendance boundaries
The revisions are expected to add from one to three bus routes, for an additional cost of $50,000 to $150,000.
During previous public meetings, Fircrest parents expressed concerns about whether students would be forced to attend Wainwright instead of a comprehensive middle school.
But district officials say middle school students in the Wainwright area will have a choice between Wainwright, which will offer an international baccalaureate program, and Truman or Gray middle schools, depending on where they live in the Wainwright boundary area. Families who don’t choose Wainwright will have district-provided bus transportation to the assigned comprehensive middle school.
Eventually, the district could re-draw middle school attendance areas to accommodate construction of a new Hunt Middle School, scheduled to open in 2021.
Boundary changes map
To see a map of attendance boundary changes adopted by the Tacoma School Board, see the district website at www.tacoma.k12.wa.us and search for boundary changes.