A change in school boundaries is coming to the Kent School District for the 2021-2022 school year.
“Continuous population changes since our last boundary analysis in the 2006-2007 school year have led to a need for a districtwide look at our school boundaries,” according to the district.
The new elementary school under construction on the West Hill along Military Road South also plays a role in the need for new boundaries.
“New schools draw enrollment from neighborhoods now assigned to existing schools,” according to the district. “The new school will help reduce overcrowding in some schools and help balance enrollment districtwide.”
The district hired Florida-based MGT Consulting Group, which has a office in Olympia, to review current school attendance boundaries for all schools in the district. The Kent School Board in August approved a contract with MGT of up to $125,000 for the analysis.
MGT will use data, community input and an equity lens to provide the Kent School Board a plan for new boundaries that distributes enrollment among all schools.
“To address how we meet this challenge in the future, MGT, a nationally recognized company specializing in school facilities, is assessing our school buildings and will provide an outside perspective on how we can efficiently improve our schools,” according to the district.
The board met with MGT during a September work session to discuss the process as the consultant has begun the demographic study. The factors for this boundary analysis include each schools’ enrollment, capacity, utilization, physical condition, educational program suitability and technology infrastructure.
Over the next several months, MGT will engage with school district leaders and the community to gather data and input. In November, MGT will provide an interim report to the board before presenting a final report in January.
While COVID-19 restrictions limit in-person opportunities for engagement, both MGT and school district leadership understand and value the need for community input in the boundary analysis process, according to the district. Community engagement will begin with a survey in October. Virtual meetings (pending changes in COVID activity) will start in late November or early December.
“More than 12 years have passed since our last boundary change in 2008,” according to the district. “Over that period, enrollments have increased and decreased at various schools across our district, student and community demographics have changed, and various educational programs and delivery methods have progressed.”