Some Kennewick elementary schools will have new boundaries next year.
The school board recently approved changes affecting seven schools on the west side of the district. They go into effect in August 2018.
The changes affect Cottonwood, Edison, Hawthorne, Lincoln, Ridge View, Sunset View and Vista.
District officials met with PTO leaders and held several public meetings to gather information as they worked on the boundary changes.
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“We tried to meet what people expressed as their needs and concerns around the boundaries,” said Greg Fancher, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “I think we’ve met most everybody’s needs.”
The changes are happening because the district is opening two new elementary schools next year and making shifts to reduce elementary class sizes.
Parts of the current Cottonwood territory, for example, will move to the new Elementary #16 under the changes. Some Ridge View and Sunset View territory also will move to that new school.
We tried to meet what people expressed as their needs and concerns around the boundaries. I think we’ve met most everybody’s needs.
Greg Fancher, assistant superintendent of elementary education
The district has drawn up a map of the new boundaries, available at ksd.org.
The boundary changes don’t affect the district’s middle or high schools.
Elementary #16 is under construction in Clearwater Creek. It’s being paid for with a mix of funds, including from a district bond and from a $51 million state grant for K-3 class size reduction.
That class size grant is covering the district’s second new elementary school, being built at the old Desert Hills Middle School site.
That school — known for now as Dual Language Elementary #17 — will house the district’s dual language program, currently at Edison and Hawthorne elementaries.
With the new schools and the boundary changes, the district will be on track to hit its K-3 class size target next year on the west side of the district. The aim is to have no more than 20 students per class.
An addition at Amistad Elementary also is coming down the pike in 2019, which will help Kennewick get to that K-3 class size goal districtwide.
Like the new dual language school, the Amistad addition is being paid for with the state grant, which was awarded last year.
Fancher said the boundary revision process was smooth and productive. “We really appreciate our community. It’s the way public discourse should be,” he said.
Kennewick School District is the largest in the Tri-Cities, with about 18,900 students.
It’s seen steady enrollment growth in recent years, gaining about 2,000 students since 2013-14.
Later this month, the district will send out letters notifying K-8 students of the school they’ll attend next year. Students living outside a school’s boundaries may apply for a transfer, with priority given to incoming fifth-graders who want to stay in their school, current district students and finally out-of-district students.
The district is inviting the community to help pick the names, mascots and colors of the two new elementary schools. Suggestions may be submitted at ksd.org and are due by Nov. 17.