Student growth projections will alter Northshore School District boundaries

Upcoming boundary adjustments for students in Northshore School District for the upcoming school year.

Estimated growth projections show a need to transition boundary adjustments for students in the Northshore School District (NSD).

In an attempt to better balance enrollment numbers over the next few years, about 250 students will need to shift from North Creek High School (NCHS) to the Bothell High School (BHS) feeder pattern. Any students already enrolled in either of the high schools will be allowed to continue attending their preferred school.

Beginning this fall, incoming ninth-grade students in the affected boundaries will be assigned to BHS, although they will be able to waiver to NCHS. Those who choose to transfer into NCHS under these criteria would be allowed to finish high school there, as well as be provided transportation to and from school.

Siblings entering high school after the upcoming school year will be required to attend BHS. They will not be able to waiver into NCHS to be with a brother or sister. Likewise, any student new to the district will be automatically allocated to BHS.

All incoming ninth graders, including siblings of NCHS students in the affected area, will be required to attend BHS throughout the 2020-21 school year and beyond. Non-mandatory waivers to NCHS will not be allowed.

NSD’s Enrollment Demographics Task Force (EDTF) has created recommendations for the district to balance enrollment numbers in anticipation of these increases. The EDTF also aims to work toward acquiring more property to address future growth adjustments.

“Our Enrollment Demographic Task Force that works on the boundary adjustments is both community and district based,” said NSD COO Joe Paperman. “All those meetings are open and all the documents are up on the website for people to comment on discussions. We are trying to involve the community.”

The EDTF is a group comprised of district staff and community members who developed the proposed boundary adjustment to prepare for heightened enrollment over the years. The task force was created under school board policy 9400 in 2001 in an effort to study trends and their impacts in the NSD.

Based on projected 2020 enrollment by the EDTF, the boundary adjustment would reassign 169 North Creek resident students to Bothell.

The EDTF presented its first draft proposal to the school board regarding September 2020 boundary changes on Oct. 8, 2018. During this study session, staff determined that the boundary change for high schools should be implemented a year earlier than originally proposed to avoid over enrollment at NCHS.

There is also a proposed boundary adjustment for the 2020 school year that involves Canyon Creek, Fernwood and Kokanee elementary schools as well as Leota and Skyview middle schools.

On Feb. 13, 2018, voters approved a $275 million capital bond levy for the implementation of three capacity projects to ease overcrowding across the district. Bonds are used to build schools and major additions, which are not covered by the state budget.

“For the school districts to get additional money locally, we have to get voter approval on the operating side,” said Paperman, adding that the work on school boundaries started back in 2015 in preparation for 2020 expansions.

This bond focuses on the creation of a new elementary school and the expansion of Canyon Creek Elementary School and Skyview Middle School. These two projects are scheduled to open September 2020.

The third project includes a new concert hall at Inglemoor High School to accommodate about 750 seats, in addition to classroom and instruction space. The budget of this new building is $26 million and it is intended to be completed by September 2021.

Aside from the three major projects, the bond also provides improved safety and security updates at all schools, as well as building system updates and outdoor instructional areas.

Statistics from the EDTF indicate that adjustments to the boundaries for Canyon Creek would result in reassigning 20 Kohanee students and 111 Fernwood students. Skyview, which is attached to Canyon Creek, would gain 51 students from Leota Middle School.

The expansion of Skyview and Canyon Creek will add a building with 30 classrooms to the campus. The new building will be placed between the two schools and designed for elementary children on one floor and middle school students on the other. The intended budget for the development is $50 million.

According to projected enrollment in 2020, the addition of the new elementary school would reassign 127 students from Kokanee, 282 students from Fernwood and 34 students from Canyon Creek.

Paperman said they decided to temporarily overload Fernwood and Kokanee in anticipation for the new elementary school. They wanted to create a ripple effect across the entire school district, he stated.

The new elementary school, otherwise referred to as Elementary #21, is located on Maltby Road and will have a capacity of 500 students. The K-5 school is about 76,000 square feet in size with 34 instructional spaces. The budget was set at $80 million, as stated on the school district’s website.

Cathi Davis has been selected as principal for the new school. She currently serves as co-principal at Kokanee, where she led the school for nearly seven years.

Pending voter approval of a future bond, the site is also scheduled to become a shared campus with a new middle school.

“As long as we have continued growth, we’re going to have to continue to add capacity,” said Paperman. “There are just naturally going to be boundary adjustments.”