New school planning begins right now

May 3, 2012

By Contributor

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It’s official: Newcastle will soon be home to the newest school in the Renton School District.

And while voters may have given their stamp of approval to financing a new middle school in the April 17 election, the work to bring the project to fruition is just beginning.

Early projections from the district have doors opening at the school in 2016. With the project in its infant planning phases, it’s never too early for parents, community members and city leaders to give valuable input on the project.

District spokesman Randy Matheson said there will be ample opportunity for community input as the project progresses. We hope the residents of Newcastle will answer the call and be involved and dedicated to a school that will have lasting implications for those neighborhoods for decades to come.

With some public concern for the necessity of the school construction bond (the measure failed Feb. 14 and barely passed April 17), the district and its core of education advocates should do everything it can to keep the residents abreast of the middle school’s financial impact, encourage public involvement in the planning process and maintain a steady construction schedule.

As a district that has been recognized for outstanding financial management and reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International and the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the past eight years, residents have legitimately high expectations for this project to be completed on budget.

District officials have said the need is great for this middle school. Indeed, the district’s three middle schools weigh in well over Washington’s state average of 609 students per facility. McKnight Middle School has more than 1,100 students; Dimmitt Middle School has more than 1,000; and Nelson Middle School has more than 950.

This fourth middle school, in Newcastle, will give students a learning environment where they can thrive, grow and prepare for their futures.


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