– Editor’s Note:
After taking the Yelm Schools bus tour last year, I learned the elementary schools on the west side of town have over-crowding, while the schools in the east do not, as Spegman’s report highlights (below). While new schools were planned as part of the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community in 2005, when the Thurston Highlands and Tahoma Terra developments went bankrupt in 2008, there was little or no planning by the city for the resulting schools growth when Yelm began approving housing permits for these developments’ new builders in west Yelm.
This situation now exists in-part because the city kept approving home building permits as their cash register for well over a decade, and now the city has doubled in population. Without providing for and/or requiring new school construction in the west end of town from developers post-bankruptcy, Yelm’s poor planning now comes home to roost, as predicted here 10+ years ago.
Our area’s children are our future.
They deserve quality facilities.
Vote YES for Yelm Schools!
– “Yelm tries again for bond to rebuild schools”
Olympia School District and Yelm Community Schools both have measures on the Feb. 13 ballot.
“In Yelm, voters will be asked to approve a $76 million bond to rebuild Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary School to accommodate more students and to build a 10,000-square-foot addition at Prairie Elementary School.”
“Officials say the work is needed to alleviate overcrowding. Yelm Middle School is at 157 percent capacity, while Southworth Elementary School is at 167 percent capacity. The district has added more than 1,300 students since its last bond passed in 2003 and expects to add more than 400 students during the next five years.”
“Yelm voters rejected smaller bond measures for building projects in 2015 and 2016,” By Abby Spegman, The Olympian.
– “No Excuses: Yelm Community Schools Aim for 100% Graduation Rate and Beyond”
“A newly launched initiative known as Graduate Yelm!, which aims to create a 100 percent graduation rate from Yelm High School by beginning a focus on graduation in the elementary grades and involving local businesses and the community in the effort. The secondary aim is for everyone to have a plan for what happens next, and a clear path for how to achieve their goals.”
“Yelm High School already has a strong graduation rate, but there’s still room for improvement, he says [Yelm Community Schools superintendent Brian Wharton]. ‘Even though we’re graduating kids at a rate higher than the state average, our matriculation into some of those other things like colleges, apprenticeships, trade schools, and the military lags behind the state average. There are barriers of geography because we’re a bit isolated and barriers to believing that college is affordable or that kids can get into apprenticeships or work transition programs. We think that by starting in kindergarten and carrying it all the way through twelfth grade, we now have the gift of time to work on this systematically. It’s about creating that belief system that, ‘Yes, I’m going to graduate,'” by Heidi Smith, Thurston Talk.