Overcrowding to send 150 Woodside students to Silver Lake

EVERETT — Up to 150 students now attending the overcrowded Woodside Elementary School will attend Silver Lake Elementary in the fall.

It’s not much of a fix because Silver Lake also is above capacity.

“It isn’t a solution, it’s spreading out the pain,” said Mary Waggoner, communications director for Everett Public Schools. “It will continue to be a problem as long as we don’t have more classroom space.”

The Everett School Board approved the redrawing of the district’s school boundaries at its Tuesday meeting.

The affected students live close to the northern edge of Mill Creek in the Heatherwood, Reserve and Hawthorne apartments, Nature’s Landing condominiums and Woodside Walk neighborhood.

The neighborhood is physically closer to Silver Lake, located at 12815 Bothell-Everett Highway, than Woodside, which lies about five miles south at 17000 23rd Ave. SE in Mill Creek.

“Kids are now riding the bus about 30 minutes to get down to Woodside,” Waggoner said.

“Depending on red lights, it’ll now be 12-15 minutes,” she said.

The 34-year-old Woodside Elementary has a capacity of 540 students. As of last fall, 800 students were enrolled, and there are 10 portable classrooms on the campus. It is the largest elementary school by population in the school district.

Silver Lake still is overcrowded, with 528 students in a facility designed for 487. There are four portables on the Silver Lake campus.

The district has ordered 16 new portables for the coming school year, five or six of which will be installed at Silver Lake, Waggoner said.

Board President Pam LeSesne said that she believes the shift in school boundaries is likely to last at least until a new elementary school is built in the south end.

A new school is near the top of a list of projects that a bond would address.

The board is considering putting a new bond before the voters in early 2016.*

In the meantime, LeSesne said, the principals at Woodside and Silver Lake will work to make the transition to a new school smooth for the students and parents.

“If and when we do pass a bond, we’ll build a new elementary school in that region and boundaries will be shifted then,” LeSesne said.

“We realize we’re not solving all of the overcrowding population,” she said. “Each one of the schools in the south end is over capacity.”

The district’s projections show that enrollment will grow steadily from 19,451 today to 21,050 in 2024. Most of that growth will be in the south end of the district.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Correction, March 26, 2015: A bond issue is expected to go to voters in early 2016. The date was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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