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6th grade move prompts Spokane district plan to build 3 middle schools

District has adopted plan to move 6th grade out of elementary campuses.

The Spokane (Wash.) district hopes to build three middle schools starting in 2021 in anticipation of moving sixth-grade students out of elementary school.

The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports that four sites have been proposed: one in northeast Spokane, another in northwest Spokane and two locations on the south side, near U.S. Highway 195.

In June, the school board to move sixth-grade students into middle school. The grade configuration changes are in response to increasing enrollment and statewide K-3 class-size reduction, as well as mandatory full-day kindergarten. 

Each middle school will cost roughly $38 million, officials say. Construction of the middle schools won’t start until 2021, pending voter approval of a bond.

Adding three new middle schools will necessitate changing attendance boundaries. In anticipation of that, the district has assembled a boundary study group that will examine the impacts of boundary change proposals. 

The decision to move sixth-graders into middle school came after the district received input from school staff and community members.

In a poll of 3,720 parents, school staff and community members, 91 percent had “positive thoughts” about a K-5, 6-8, 9-12 grade configuration model.

About 63 percent of districts in the state have a K-5 configuration; 23 percent of districts have a K-6 setup; and 8 percent have a K-8 configuration.

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