SVSD Enrollment Growth Fairly Flat; Middle Schools Down, High School Flat, Elementary Gains Most Students

It’s that time of year.  A time when the Snoqualmie Valley School District provides its first enrollment picture of the new school year. In fast-growing area like the Valley, the picture is usually one of growth, but by how much is never known until the school year starts and kids fill classroom seats.

This year, Snoqualmie Valley schools grew slightly, at 1.5%, adding about 95 FTE (full-time equivalent) students, pushing the district’s enrollment up to almost 6,000 FTE students.

From September 2012 – September 2013, the most growth was experienced at the elementary school level, which increased by 3% – or a gain of about 83 FTE students.  Enrollment at four of the district’s five elementary schools was essentially flat. Opstad Elementary bucked that trend, growing by nearly 10%.

At the middle school level, enrollment shrunk slightly, by about 1% – with the loss of 12 students.

New portables installed at Twin Falls MS, July 2013.

New portables installed at Twin Falls MS, July 2013.

A big change for 2013-14 middle school enrollment is that students are now spread over only two schools, as Snoqualmie Middle School converted to a Freshman Campus. As a result, Twin Falls Middle School jumped to 732 FTE students, up from 563 last year. Chief Kanim took a an even bigger jump, increasing to 713 FTE students from 441 the prior year. Over the summer, the district spent approximately $1 million on portables classrooms to house dislocated SMS students at TFMS and CKMS.

High school enrollment was also fairly flat, growing by about 1.5%, with Mount Si High School gaining 20 FTE students and Two Rivers adding 8 students when compared to this time last year.

By grade, 9th grade increased by 10 students and 10th grade gained 58 more kids.  The 11th grade class stayed flat and the senior class decreased by 47.

Since beginning high school, the current SVSD 11th and 12th grade classes have experienced attrition of 10% and 16%.  Today’s junior class of 366 FTE students began as 408 freshmen.  Today’s senior class of 360 FTE students began as 431 freshmen.

Those attrition rates can be attributed to factors like transfers, online school, running start, families moves and dropouts.  10th to 11th grade usually sees the biggest jump in attrition, as junior year is when students are eligible to begin the Running Start program at Bellevue College, meaning they are no longer full-time Mount Si students.

Mount Si High School has 1,589 FTE students this year, up by 20 students from September 2012. The MSHS main campus has a total capacity of about 1,620 students. With 470 of those 1,589 students now moved to new Mount Si Freshman campus, 1120 students remain at the main campus for 2013-14.

Roughly 11 Mount Si teachers moved out of their main campus classrooms and into the 9th campus full-time, with another (approximately) 22 Mount Si teachers traveling between the two campuses daily and maintaining two classrooms.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District’s Business Services Department conservatively budgeted for 5,859 students this school year, which means it should it should now receive some increased state funding to match the actual FTE enrollment.

 

[** All numbers used in story are FTE (Full Time Equivalent) and compare September 2012 enrollment to September 2013 enrollment numbers. **]

 

Comments

  1. This is a quote from an article in the Valley Record March 2009 (a year after the housing crash): “Using the committee’s recommendations, the board will adopt a formal plan for the district facilities. “Once that plan’s in place we’re going to keep a close eye on those enrollment projections,” so the board can amend the plan if there are any significant changes, McConkey said.”

    Amend the plans? I didn’t know the board could do that. All I have seen is full speed ahead despite the changing enrollment numbers for our district. Mt Si is no longer overcrowded? Oh well, we already said we were going to have a freshman campus so we better go ahead with that concept! We will go ahead and spend 2-3 million on SMS to cover the court yard, repaint it, remodel it, spend 1 million on extra portables at the middle schools, spend an unknown amount $ extra to teachers who travel between Mt Si and Little Si; spend more money on admin and stipends at Mt Si to take over the displaced role of Ms. Castle, former assistant principal of Mt Si and on and on. But give a little pay increase in a timely manner to teachers without stressing out the whole community? No can do. A little pay increase for the PSE employees? Nope.

    So before the community starts to complain about wages given to employees, maybe your questions would be better served asking why we went ahead with this plan when the “need” of capacity at the High School hadn’t been and won’t be reached for a good long time. Why did the administration and board ignore declining enrollment numbers and not amend the plan? Why did we spend money unnecessarily on building modifications, portables, technology, extra stipend money for 450 9th grade students, all the while making 1500 middle school students and their families suffer the consequences? Why? The admin and board had the numbers-why did they ignore them? Why couldn’t they “amend the plan” as Mr. McConkey suggested back in 2009?

    This is from the Valley Record in January 2011: ”The district then created a committee to find another approach to solve the district’s space problem — Mount Si High School has a capacity of only 1,725.”

    Looks to me like we can increase by 30, then 40, then 50 in each of the next 3 years and still not hit this capacity of 1,725. This huge, expensive disruption could have and should have been avoided by simply “amending the plan”.
    What a shame.

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