During the School Board Meeting on 3/14/19, in the Superintendent Report, it was mentioned that we would likely need a new elementary school. Since that meeting, I have spent some time looking at the data again trying to understand why it would be proposed that we would need another elementary school in the future.
TSD spent a great deal of resources in hiring an outside firm to analyze the area and it’s potential future growth. From that firm’s projections, it could be argued that building a new elementary is not the most financially prudent plan. A new school would cost tens of millions of dollars and much of the burden would fall on the Tumwater School District residents. The enrollment projections through 2040 (3800-4000) are well within the capacities of our schools (4225) as presently used.
Holding off on building a new school would likely result in continued use of portables, in addition to some boundary changes. While it can be argued that the use of portables is not ideal, that would need to be balanced with the best use of the funds that would be required to build a new school.
The growth peaks at around the year 2030 and then starts to decline. This could be interpreted to mean that the use of portables use would be temporary while TSD gets through the peak in enrollment, thus saving the taxpayers millions of dollars and avoiding having to close, or at the very least under utilize, schools in the future due to low enrollment.
See the excerpt below from my previous blog on the topic:
“At the peak of the graph (around 2030) the total elementary enrollment should be around 3775-4000. Looking at the total capacity for TSD elementary schools(assuming no use of portables) capacity in elementary schools is 3050. However, if portables were to be used capacity would be 4225. Notably, enrollment is projected to peak around 2030, with a slight downward trend thereafter. “
“If TSD can operate within its capacity over the next decade, which may involve another boundary adjustment, a good argument could made that spending millions of dollars on a new elementary school is not necessary. Another piece of the puzzle that was not discussed, was the number of interdistrict students(students not living in the TSD boundaries) TSD enrolls. From the numbers the committee were given, our elementary schools have a total of 85 interdistrict students. That number doesn’t seem to significantly change enrollment. However, TSD may be put into a position of being very selective when deciding whether or not to accept interdistrict kids at the elementary school level.”
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