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Ridgefield School Bonds Propositions 10 and 11 Address Urgent Needs: A Call to Action

Updated: Apr 6

The Ridgefield School District is facing a critical situation: while neighboring districts are seeing a decline in enrollment, our student population continues to grow. Ridgefield, the fastest growing city in Washington with an astounding 50% of the population under the age of 18, is at an urgent crossroad. Ridgefield Schools Bonds Propositions 10 and 11 offer the solution we've been waiting for – a much-needed elementary school, repairs for aging buildings, expansions for general education and CTE classrooms at the high school, and a new 5th-8th grade campus to accommodate our growing needs. The time to act is now; the need is urgent.

The Challenge We Face is Real

Our elementary schools are struggling with significant challenges due to the surge in student enrollment. Currently, 1,462 grade school students are packed into facilities meant for 1,197, greatly impacting our youngest learners. With 17 portable buildings holding 34 temporary classrooms, the current situation is simply not sustainable.

The strain extends to our middle schools as well. Sunset Intermediate School and View Ridge Middle School, who’s capacity is for 1,156 students, are now accommodating 1,253 students, with an excess of 116 students. To manage this overflow, we've resorted to employing four portable buildings that equate to eight temporary classrooms. Students walk off campus to attend health class. And, we all remember the transition of the wrestling room into classrooms in the 2022/2023 school year. 

Our 5th-8th grade enrollment has an annual growth averaging 51 students, equivalent to two full classrooms. By Fall 2026, when the proposed new campus opens its doors, the influx of grade school students transitioning to our immediate/middle school campus will compound the space crunch. Passing Proposition 11 and constructing the new combined intermediate/middle school will facilitate boundary adjustments, ensuring balanced enrollments across two 5th-8th grade campuses.

We Need A Solution Now

Portable classrooms are expensive to purchase and maintain, and introduce safety and security concerns. They are not a long term solution to overcrowding. Class size is governed by collective bargaining agreements, there's no room to accommodate more students per classroom.

We can’t let this be our students’ norm. We can do better. 

This growth is not temporary; it reflects Ridgefield's demographic reality. Contrary to misinformation that has been circulating, data shows that Ridgefield’s population is young, with the average adult age of 34, and 50% are school-aged youth. With a projected annual growth of over 1,700 individuals, the need for expanded educational infrastructure is undeniable. (Source World Population Review)

Considering Costs

Some may suggest the cost is too high, but delaying action only escalates costs. In just a few years, the cost of building a new K-4 school has surged from $51.7 million in 2020 to $59.5 million, highlighting the financial consequences of procrastination. Read more about the reasons behind rising costs of school construction here. 

The design process for the proposed new elementary school commenced in 2018, incorporating inputs from teachers, staff, and students . Finalized designs, paid for using developer impact fees, garnered community feedback and were deemed financially responsible. Developer impact fees were used to purchase the land, create the plans, and complete the ground work.  The new elementary school and high school addition designs add vital classroom space, are prudent, and adheres to safety standards, featuring perimeter fencing, controlled access points, and surveillance systems to safeguard students.  Returning to the drawing board would be a gross mismanagement of resources. 

Ridgefield School District is audited annually and recently earned the State Auditor Office’s stewardship award. A bond oversight committee will ensure transparency and accountability that funds will be used for the purposes outlined in Proposition 10 and 11. 

Now is the Time To Come Together

Ridgefield's building needs are not just necessary; they are vital to our community. Propositions 10 and 11 offer tangible and thoughtful solutions to current challenges and provide our students with learning spaces where they can thrive. Now is the time to Bond Together for Our Ridgefield and Our Future.

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