The district says it plans instead to add classrooms to its three existing elementary schools.
The Tukwila School District has decided not to build a new facility that would have housed all its preschool and kindergarten classes and included space for even younger children, from birth to age 3.
Although voters approved construction of that building in 2016, the district says it plans instead to add classrooms to its three elementary schools — Tukwila, Thorndyke and Cascade View — for those children.
The Birth-to-Five Center was part of a $99.16 million ballot measure to improve building safety, alleviate overcrowding and add academic wings to Foster High and Showalter Middle for career and technical classes. Tukwila residents approved the bond with 68 percent of the vote.
Before the bond vote, the district said the new 28-classroom Birth-to-Five Center would alleviate crowding at the three elementary schools, which were each at least 100 students over capacity. The district estimated the total costs of building the center would have been less than it would have cost to build a new elementary school.
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Since that time, however, construction costs have increased and the district’s enrollment decreased more than officials had expected. The district also cited a new charter school, Impact Elementary, that’s scheduled to open in Tukwila next fall, as a reason why enrollment might continue to decline.
The Tukwila School Board questioned whether the district could afford to operate the building in the long term, President Dave Larson said in a news release, so the board voted in December to alter the bond’s plan.
Under Washington state law, school boards can alter plans for a bond if members hold a public meeting (which Tukwila has done) and decide the change is in the district’s best interest.