John Hellwich, Gig Harbor
I feel it is time to sound the alarm about overcrowding in the Peninsula School District. We are running a bond measure on April 24 which will also address the security, safety and outdated systems, but I want to specifically address the overcrowding.
The growth in our schools can no longer be denied. From February 2016 to February 2018, we added 439 students in our eight elementary schools alone.
Additional pressure is coming from the legislature. Of course we all want small class sizes, and we’ve cut our average by two students per class in the past two years. However, this combination of growth and legislation has created the need for 23 additional classrooms, and we will need more soon.
To meet these challenges we have repurposed specialist space, reduced space for high-needs students, moved smaller classes into hallways, put two teachers in a classroom, and added expensive portables as ways to find room for our students ... and we will need more classroom space soon.
The need for an additional elementary school in the district is clear. Please exercise your right to vote on April 24.
This is a transcript from a letter to the editor originally published in the News Tribune.