CWU Helena property

A parcel of land, owned by Central Washington University along Helena Avenue south of the Verge apartment complex, Tuesday. The Ellensburg School District and CWU are in discussions about land and a possible partnership as the district looks at options to address elementary level overcrowding.

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The Ellensburg School District officials are talking with Central Washington University about land and possible partnerships.

Discussions about several scenarios regarding the expansion of the district’s facilities have been ongoing for months. A subcommittee with board members Meg Ludlum and Jonathan Leonard is preparing new elementary school options to present to the Community Capital Planning Committee later this month.

The committee has been looking at ways to alleviate overcrowding in the district’s three elementary schools.

Interim Superintendent Mike Nollan told the board he and business director Brian Aiken recently met with CWU officials about land, as well as a potential partnership. One idea deals with CWU land on Helena Avenue.

“They are very receptive to it,” Nollan said of the discussions. “We want people to know, too, that we’re still in that process. We’re interested and we’re hoping to come to some sort of agreement within the next 4-6 weeks.”

The school board had a 10-minute, closed-door executive session about real estate on Wednesday, with no action taken.

ENROLLMENT UPDATE

For the third month in a row, the Ellensburg School District enrollment is down, dropping 5.86 full-time equivalent students. That puts the district at a total FTE of 3,232 and a headcount of 3,298, according to Aiken.

Aiken said the school district is paid on average enrollment, so based on that, the district is only down 12 students.

“We’re taking that into account in our monthly planning and as we as we prepare the budget,” Aiken said, “and we’ve already calculated the difference in enrollment and fortunately set that aside.”

Board member Jonathan Leonard pointed out last year the district had the opposite issue.

“The first three months we were growing,” Leonard said. “This is more of a normal behavior.”

Considering the problems the district has with overcrowding, Leonard said “It’s a high quality problem to have when we don’t have the building space.”

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