The Pullman School District is considering proposing a new renovation bond to address capacity concerns at the Lincoln Middle School, Pullman Superintendent Bob Maxwell said during a state of the district address Wednesday evening.

LMS is the top priority in regards to facility concerns in the district, followed by a new transportation building and renovations to the Pioneer Center, Maxwell said.

Maxwell said LMS is reaching its maximum capacity and some teachers are having to share their teaching spaces and use carts to move between classrooms.

In 2002, voters passed a $15.4 million reconstruction bond to upgrade the school and increase its capacity to 700 students. The work was completed in 2004 and the original bond is set to expire in 2020.

Maxwell said an additional bond would be used to address space issues in the common areas, add additional classrooms and bathrooms.

He said ideally, the remodel bond would also not exceed the current collection rate.

"We need to take a look at it now so we don't get behind the curve," he said.

While space at LMS is strained, Maxwell said overall enrollment in the PSD is down by approximately 35 students compared to this time last year.

Maxwell said in previous years, the district was able to consider high school students as enrolled full time if they were taking five or more courses. This year, the state changed its requirement and only students taking six or more courses can be considered full time, he said.

"We have quite a few seniors that only take five," Maxwell said.

Fourth-grade classes saw the biggest decrease in student population, Maxwell said.

Pullman is not the only school in the area that has seen a drop in enrollment. Moscow and Colfax high schools have seen a decrease in population so far this year as well as, he said. Colton High School, however, saw an enrollment increase of nearly 15 students.

Maxwell said the district will need to continue monitoring the number of students closely as it directly affects the amount of funding it receives.

He said several students were expected to enroll in elementary school Wednesday, and the number of students may level out later in the semester.

"The company that did our projections showed that we would continue to grow but slowly make our way down, so I don't know if we are starting to see that in actuality," he said.

The board also voted to give PSD Communications Coordinator Shannon Focht the ability to choose a vendor to conduct a staff climate survey following tensions between teachers, staff and the district this summer.

While the administration of the survey is still several weeks away, Focht said, the subcommittee has identified criteria it must meet. The survey must be conducted by an independent party, be anonymous, accessible online, be completed in 15-20 minutes, and repeatable annually or semi-annually, she said.

Focht said the average cost of a survey vendor is $5,000 to $10,000.


Katie Short can be reached at (208) 883-4633, or by email to kshort@dnews.com.

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