District options high school with special focus on arts or science

School would provide rigorous academics, relieve overcrowding

Tacoma News TribuneJune 11, 2014 

Creating a small high school program for the Puyallup School District with an arts or science focus, or one that offers college credits for high school work, may soon become a real possibility, according to administrators.

Starting now and carrying through the summer, a 17-member committee will be charged with exploring options for a new small high school program that would serve a student population of 100 to 500, according to Brian Lowney, one of the district’s regional academic officers.

The Puyallup School District is not planning new construction, but is merely having a committee explore options to challenge high school students. If the district pursues any of those options, it will use existing facilities.

Lowney said in addition to providing a rigorous academic program outside the traditional high school, a new high school would also provide relief for the district’s anticipated future growth.

Lowney, a former principal at Emerald Ridge High School, said: “We offer a lot of options within our comprehensive high schools. But we need to offer more choice to families.”

A voter-rejected 2013 bond proposal that would have added space to Puyallup’s overcrowded high schools has convinced Lowney voters will be averse to approving funding for a fourth comprehensive high school.

The Puyallup School District — the second largest in Pierce County — serves a population of 21,000 students and has three comprehensive high schools: Puyallup, Rogers and Emerald Ridge. Walker, a small alternative high school, serves 120 students who are credit-deficient.

Starting this fall, the 17-member committee will present possible options for a smaller high school program to the Puyallup School District board of directors.

Compiled from a report by News Tribune staff writer Debbie Cafazzo.

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