EVERETT — School district leaders are looking for input on options to handle crowding after voters rejected a February bond measure that would have paid for a new high school.
Three meetings are planned this month to talk about enrollment growth and possible ways to address it, some of which would bring change for hundreds of students.
Henry M. Jackson High School is packed; it was nearly 380 students over capacity at the start of this school year, according to a district presentation. The district expects Cascade High School to become more crowded in the coming years, as well.
The Everett School Board met in April to talk about next steps. They’ll need to ask voters to reconsider a bond for a new high school, but maybe not anytime soon. And in the meantime, they need to plan for swelling enrollment and the crowding at Jackson.
The last bond measure fell more than 4 percentage points short of the 60 percent approval required to pass. The district was asking for $330.6 million, the biggest piece of which would have gone toward building a fourth large high school.
The Everett School District has more students than it ever has in the past. The headcount passed 20,000 earlier this year, and about 1,600 more students are expected within the next 10 years. High school enrollment is expected to go from 5,459 in 2017 to 6,324 by 2023, according to district documents.
Among the options being considered by the board, and meant to be talked about during the meetings, is changing school boundaries to better balance enrollment at the district’s three large high schools. The board also has talked about schedule changes at Jackson High to ease crowding, and adding portables on that campus and at Cascade.
A boundary change could move about 375 students from Jackson to Cascade High School and another 375 from Cascade to Everett High School.
If portable classrooms are to be used, another 13 would be needed at Jackson by 2023, on top of the 17 already there. Seven portables also might be needed at Cascade in the next five years.
Schedule changes could take the form of double-shifting, staggered starts or year-round school.
The goal is for the school board to gather ideas during the May meetings and talk over the options this summer. Whatever changes they decide upon would likely take effect by the start of the 2019-20 school year, according to a message from Superintendent Gary Cohn.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett School District growth meetings:
• 6 p.m. Tuesday at Cascade High School
• 6 p.m. Thursday at Everett High School
• 6 p.m. May 29 at Jackson High School