It’s no secret that growth in Puyallup is booming. There are new housing developments and multi-family homes springing up throughout the district.
In 2009 there were 63 new construction single family homes sold in Puyallup. By 2015 that number grew to 384, according to the New Home Trends Database.
There are currently 1,600 multi-family, 1,927 single family, and 189 single family attached homes under construction or planned for future construction and sale within the Puyallup School District boundary area, according to data provided by the Puyallup School District Facilities Planning Department. Click here to view a public web map of residential construction projects.
These facts and detailed demographic information and projections were presented to the district’s Boundary Review Committee when they met on January 18. The committee will use this information along with student demographics to evaluate and make recommendations for adjustments to school attendance areas for elementary and secondary schools.
Consultant Les Kendrick, a well-known demographer who has consulted with a number of schools districts across Puget Sound, presented information to the committee on Trends and Projections for student population growth in Puyallup. With information dating back to 1995, he charted Puyallup enrollment trends and compared them to Pierce County and surrounding counties.
- From October 2015 to October 2016 enrollment throughout Pierce County has grown by 1,249 students
- The 334 student increase in the Puyallup School District from October 2015 to October 2016 represents 27% of the net gain in enrollment in Pierce County
- The average annual births in Pierce County from 1996-2005 was 10,016; from 2006-2015 the average annual number of births was 11,322
- In 2016 there are 131,366 students in K-12 Pierce County public schools; with projected county population growth that number is expected to rise to 145,187 by 2025
- In October 2016 student enrollment in Puyallup was 21,748—it is projected to increase by more than 1,000 students by 2020
- Job growth throughout Puget Sound is affecting Pierce County
Kendrick said Puyallup is growing at a faster rate than the rest of Pierce County which directly equates to a greater market share of the K-12 students. “Housing plus births equals a lot of growth in Puyallup right now,” he said.
Other topics covered during the January Boundary Review Committee meeting included an update on the Bond Oversight Committee activities by Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello, a look at the process used during the recent Tacoma School District boundary review, an introduction to the Geographic Information System (GIS) which allows mapping of student populations throughout the district, and discussions about how to ensure incorporation of equity issues in the decision making process.
Casello discussed recent changes recommended by the Bond Oversight Committee and approved by the Puyallup School Board include reducing the scope of the Pope Elementary project, acceleration of the Sunrise Elementary project by one year, and a 12 classroom addition to Hunt Elementary. He said these changes will affect the work of the Boundary Review Committee.
Director of Facilities Planning Brian Devereux presented the GIS student population map and discussed the benefits of using the information to identify where students live and where they are attending school.
Chief Academic Officer Brian Lowney led the group in activities to begin looking at data and thinking about the questions they will ask in order to make boundary decisions. He discussed equity issues for special education programs, QUEST, transportation, and allowing choices for students and families.
Devereux introduced committee member Mark Bledsoe as the newly elected Boundary Review Committee Co-Chair. During the November meeting members were asked to nominate a community member from the group to serve as co-chair. He was introduced to the school board at the February 7 meeting.
The 36-member committee was chosen to represent the geographical regions throughout the district and reflect on diverse needs. It includes community members, parents, district staff, and students. There are nine community members—three from each region representing elementary, junior high and high school. The group also includes five at large community members and two Puyallup PTA Council representatives. District staff members include chief academic officers, principals, transportation, athletics health and fitness, student services, special services, student learning, and equity and achievement.
The committee meets monthly beginning in September 2016 through November 2018. They are an advisory committee to the Puyallup School Board and will present a report to the School Board in 2018 with recommended boundary adjustments. The report will consider possible options and identify benefits and challenges pertaining to them.