Central Kitsap School District plans restructuring

Central Kitsap School District could see big changes to its school set-up as soon as August 2014, including changing high schools to a ninth through 12th grade format and moving sixth grade to junior high.

A demographic study predicted school enrollment will go down slightly for the next five years, so the 42-member Central Kitsap district configuration committee is discussing how best to adjust schools to save money and distribute class sizes.

Central Kitsap district spokesman David Beil said spring 2013 is the soonest a full-fledged proposal would go before the Central Kitsap School Board, so 2014 is only a tentative goal.

Central Kitsap Education Association president Kirsten Nicholson said the committee has agreed that ninth-graders will be moved into the high schools.

Currently, Central Kitsap high schools house 10th through 12th grades, middle schools house seventh through ninth, and kindergarteners through sixth-graders attend elementary schools.

Klahowya Secondary School hosts seventh- through twelfth-graders, and might gain sixth-graders under one of the options.

Nicholson said it's still up for debate whether the sixth grade will be moved into middle schools and stay on a more elementary-style class schedule, or switch to the junior-high model of a 6-period bell schedule.

"Before you go too far in, at some point you have to make that decision," Nicholson said.

Some parents think their 11-year-olds are ready for junior high and more independence, but others would like to keep their children in elementary school another year, Nicholson said.

At the April 25 district board meeting, board member Christy Cathcart said she thinks the board should decide what should happen to the sixth grade.

"We've never addressed our philosophy toward middle schools...that's not a committee piece, that's a board piece," Cathcart said.

Cathcart said it's a general consensus that ninth grade should be in the high school, but she would like to see the board talk more about sixth grade in public meetings.

"We do too much work with phone calls and not in front of the public," she said.


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