CFAC Meeting Summary: January 25
Members of Highline’s community-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) took a deep dive into current enrollment and projected trends, looking 10 years or more into the future.
They also heard updates on remaining capital projects funded with the 2016 bond and on plans being set in motion for the construction projects approved with the 2022 bond.
Co-chair and Highline resident Omaha Sternberg led the January 25 meeting. Chief Operations Officer Scott Logan presented the enrollment information and projections provided by long-time local demographer Les Kendrick, who serves many districts in Washington.
CFAC members plan to tour some of our older schools and look at building conditions before their March 22 meeting. The charge of CFAC is to prioritize our older school buildings and recommend future bond packages to the school board.
Enrollment Report & Projections
Next year's enrollment is still projected to go down, but not as much as previous years and less than previously projected.
For the 2023-24 school year, we are projected to have around 100 fewer students districtwide.
Our enrollment has been declining since 2016. Births in King County have also been declining since 2016.
The largest dip in enrollment will impact middle schools, followed by elementary.
Projecting enrollment is not an exact science, and it is influenced by a mix of factors, including ongoing impacts from the Covid pandemic, charter schools, the housing market and more.
How soon we could see numbers increasing (likely by the end of this decade) depends on many factors, including charter schools; immigrant population; economic factors, including mortgage rates, area layoffs and home sales; and how many of the recently permitted rental units are built and occupied.
Capital Projects Updates
Ellie Daneshnia, executive director of the Capital Planning & Construction team provided project updates. She said a remaining 2016 bond project, the second phase of updating security cameras, is underway for 2023.
The timelines for the Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific school replacement projects funded with the 2022 bond were shared at the November 30 CFAC meeting (and are now reflected on the school construction website).
Ellie said her team is planning for updates to the Southern Heights campus to accommodate Highline Virtual Academy and New Start High School. Other next steps on the 2022 bond include planning for the replacement of Transportation/Building L and the update of the Sylvester Middle School field to synthetic turf.
Multi-school Campus Examples
At the request of CFAC members, Ellie shared examples of school replacement projects with shared facilities or campuses. This is an idea discussed periodically in previous CFAC meetings, as suggested by CFAC member Mike Sita, principal at CHOICE Academy, as having possible application at the Woodside/Manhattan adjacent sites, where both CHOICE and Big Picture schools currently have aging facilities.
Examples included four projects in Washington, Oregon, California and Connecticut. The examples ranged from separate buildings with a separate, but shared cafeteria and common building, to three small schools with distinct wings but one building footprint. No recommendation has been made.
Tours, Data & Information
CFAC members will have an opportunity to tour some of our older school buildings, as well as a new building, prior to their March 22 meeting, with the goal of prioritizing the list of 11 older school sites for future school bond consideration.