Two of Woodland’s elementary schools will both convert to a K-4 structure in fall 2019 due to over enrollment caused by the city’s own burgeoning population, a press release from the school district said Monday.
Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, Woodland Primary and Intermediate Schools will join Yale Elementary School in becoming K-4 neighborhood schools. The Primary school currently serves kindergarten through first grade students while the Intermediate school serves second through fourth grade students.
All Woodland Public Schools, except for the new high school, have more students enrolled than they were designed for. But Woodland Intermediate School is particularly crowded, WPS Communications Manager Eric Jacobson said.
Since more existing households are having children, the primary school enrollment is ballooning. But families are also moving into the area with elementary-aged children, causing the intermediate school population to grow.
Since the primary-age children soon grow up and enroll at the Intermediate school, that school is caught between two sources of rapid enrollment growth. It had 495 students enrolled in Fall 2017 despite a 2015 capacity of 441. Converting both schools to a K-4 structure will equalize enrollment and help relieve some pressure from the Intermediate school.
“The Intermediate school is rapidly growing over capacity, faster than the primary school,” Jacobson said. “Even the middle school is over capacity. The only school we have that isn’t is the high school.”
The city is considering adding as many as 1,200 homes, Jacobson said, which could mean an increase of roughly 600 to 800 students. The Woodland School district currently enrolls about 2,500 students.
“If you’re looking at adding 600, that’s a huge percentage increase to our overall student enrollment. And that’s at the low end,” Jacobson said.
By restructuring the schools, Jacobson said, the district can avoid having to construct additional modular buildings at the Intermediate school.
It will also provide students fewer transitions in their schooling and give families “a single elementary school for their school-aged children,” the release said.
New schools will definitely need to be built eventually, Jacobson said, but there isn’t a firm timetable yet.
“Right now, there aren’t any follow up plans about when a bond will run … but there’s no question that in the next few years, that will be happening.”