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Facilities Planning - A Community Member's Perspective

If you love HGTV like I do, you know there are often a lot of questions and concerns about maintenance, upkeep, replacement, and
remodeling as time passes. Everyone wants to make sound financial decisions that will best protect both the initial investment and the long-term. In Gig Harbor, we take pride in our homes, our businesses, and our community. You may know Superintendent Dr. Rob Manahan convened a facilities committee in March of 2016 to begin a process exploring questions about the district facilities and to discover concerns and needs. Committee members include representatives from schools, businesses, city, county, community, and a variety of agencies. The work of the committee has involved visiting schools and reviewing a lot of information about the buildings. Two surveys have gone out to the entire community and the responses have been reviewed by the committee and are posted on the website. Facilities Planning people looking at materials

Did you know Artondale Elementary opened in 1952 and was modernized in 1989? Did you know Evergreen opened in 1955 and was modernized in 1988? Washington state considers the “life-span” of a building to be 30 years. At 30 years, the district is eligible for matching funds for modernization/replacement; 9 of the 15 schools in the PSD are at or beyond their 30-year functional service life. Some themes have emerged from the work we have done on the committee. They include transparency, equity, and renewal. Some priorities have emerged around addressing the capacity in our schools, maintenance and operations, and the quality of the learning environments.

The next step in this work will include some general recommendations to the School Board about possible next steps and how to begin to address immediate, short term, and long-term needs, as well as how to put a sustainable plan in place to address change, growth, and ongoing facility needs. As a grandmother with four grandchildren in the district, a mother of a district employee, a relatively new resident, and a retiree, it has been inspiring to me to see the level of support and passion from everyone I’ve met to make the needed facility improvements and provide a responsible fiscal legacy of long-term planning for the future needs of our students and our facilities. Whether you, your children, or your grandchildren have attended schools or events in Peninsula School District, we all know our schools reflect the values of
our community.

DESPITE STABLE ENROLLMENT, PENINSULA IS SHORT ON CLASSROOM SPACE:

With the best interest of students in mind, decisions made in both the legislature and initiative process have resulted in a shortage of classrooms. When half-day kindergarten was the norm, two full classes of five-year-olds could share one classroom space—one class would be in the morning, the other in the afternoon.Once the legislature funded full-day kindergarten, it doubled how many classrooms each school needed to teach that grade.Now PSD is looking even greater needs with the new class reductions recently passed by the state legislature.For 2017-18, the latest 

Class size graphic

funding models passed in Olympia call for an average class size in Grades K-3 of only 17 students. Therefore, when the average number of primary students in a building exceeds 17, students need to be redistributed and additional classrooms are needed for the district to fully collect the allocated funding from the state. Despite the challenges in meeting classroom space requirements, Peninsula School District successfully started the 2017-18 school year due to proactive work with school boundaries in 2016, creative use of existing spaces, expanding certificated staffing, and the addition of four portable classrooms at Voyager Elementary. However, moving forward, PSD will not be able to achieve an average of 17 students per class in grades K-3 with existing classroom space.

At left, this graphic shows the specific effects of classroom reduction in K-3 from 25 students down to 17. While this change in state law will benefit teaching and learning, it will also mean a shortage of classroom space in the district after this year, especially on the heels of the recent change to full-day kindergarten throughout the district.