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Growth in North Bellingham

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear Families and Community,

During the past year, we have been learning about and monitoring growth in housing and student enrollment fluctuations in north Bellingham. This article provides an excellent summary.

We have been working closely with City of Bellingham staff to understand the new housing developments that are opening near Cordata Elementary School this school year and in the future. Cordata’s student enrollment is currently near capacity with two portables and also houses our Life Skills special education program this year. Last week, I met with staff at Cordata and Shuksan staff to discuss possible contingency plans and support, if more students move into the Cordata attendance area in the next few months.

For next school year and beyond, we’re working on a process to adjust and balance elementary and middle/high school feeder pattern attendance areas, especially in north and central Bellingham. We also need to balance the attendance areas between Squalicum and Bellingham high schools. Currently, Squalicum has about 245 more students and balancing enrollment for future years provides better high school course options for students. We’ll likely be forming a standing attendance area committee with a call for applications coming soon. We’ll need help thinking about our most pressing needs and to proactively prepare for current city residents moving into new neighborhoods, as well as some new families coming to our community. Our process will include working closely with parents and staff who are affected to gather feedback on potential adjustments.

The article above also points to growth in the King Mountain area. This is an area where we own property that may be used for a future elementary school. As we prepare for future growth, we’ll also be revisiting the recommendation from our 2012 Facilities Planning Task Force for the next phase of school construction projects that will likely include rebuilding some of our oldest elementary schools and possibly building a 15th elementary school near King Mountain.

We’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

Thank you and have a great rest of your week,

Greg Baker