District seeks input to meet challenges

— The Sunnyside School District is seeking community, parent and student feedback as planning continues to find a solution to the challenge of increased enrollment at Sunnyside High School in the next five years.

The high school had an enrollment of 1,983 students for the 2017-2018 school year for 9th-12th grade and a building capacity for 1,850 students. The total number of students in 3rd through 6th grade for the 2017-2018 school year was 2,233.

These numbers only reflect the students enrolled in the district in May of 2018. They don’t include any new students that may have moved or transferred into the school district.

“We want a very clear idea of what our residents believe are solutions for us to explore,” Superintendent Kevin McKay said.

“We also want to know what priorities, including safety, extracurricular opportunities, technology and advanced learning opportunities, are identified as areas of focus,” he said.

An electronic survey is available in English and Spanish on the Sunnyside School District website at www.sunnysideschools.org and can be completed from most mobile devices, as well as laptops and desktop computers.

A paper survey will arrive in residents’ mailboxes next week with a return envelope included for respondents to send the completed survey back to the school district.

Surveys will be accepted through Sept. 7.

Background

Starting in September of 2016, the School District conducted three community stakeholder surveys. The school board dedicated work sessions to studying enrollment and facility needs. The board held community forums and organized a community facilities advisory committee to put together a plan to address the increased enrollment.

Three projects at Sunnyside High School, an additional classroom building, expanded performing arts space and updated outdoor athletic facilities, were identified out of this work.

In April, the district ran a bond in the amount of $18 million to fund those projects.

The bond received a 55.45 percent approval, short of the 60 percent majority needed to pass. If the bond had passed, the district would have also received an additional $6.5 million from the state to aid in construction costs.

“We moved forward with the information we had at the time and with a plan we believed addressed the identified priorities of our community,” McKay said. “Now, we are back in the planning phase and re-evaluating any and all options that are presented to us.”

He said, “Our goal is to provide a learning environment that meets the needs of all our students with input from the community that supports us.”

Any questions regarding the survey can be directed to the Communications Department at 509-836-8703 or by email to feedback@sunnysideschools.org.



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