I visited Sarah J Anderson Elementary recently with my kids to highlight the issue of crowded schools. Did you know that Anderson Elementary has over 800 students? This is the size of an average middle school (and nearly double the average elementary). While there are many reasons for the size of this school, population growth and the location of special programs both come to mind, the real question is what can we do about it.
One answer is to build a new school. Vancouver Public Schools has two bonds that voters have passed for building. Bond 1 is being collected through 2020 and part of that was used to rebuild Sarah J. Anderson in 2004. Bond 2 was approved in 2017 and is being allocated to building and replacing schools throughout the district, but not in the area of Anderson. This means that building a new school is not going to be in the short term.
So, if we can’t build a new school what can we do? A second answer is to look at school boundaries. This would require the board to be open to public input and transparent in the discussion and decision making process. School boundaries are difficult conversations but we need to remember that offering the best education to our students comes first.
What about more creative solutions? Some district in SW Washington have placed a cap on elementary schools and instead bus students to neighboring schools to address overcrowding. While not a sustainable long term solution this could be a plausible short term solution until another school can be built.
Finding solutions to crowded schools is going to require creative solutions, input from our community and a school board that listens to and respects that input.
Also Gwen gives the playground a 10 and Xander a 5 (there was a bumble bee)