The College Place School bond passed on April 17 with 61 percent of College Place voters voicing yes. The bond is for rebuilding Davis Elementary School and building a new high school.
The next step in the process is planning for the new school buildings. First, will be renovations to Davis Elementary, according to College Place Superintendent Tim Payne. The school bond will cost $38.5 million, which will be paid for by state matching funds and property taxes.
Once the project is complete, about 400 students from Wa-Hi, who currently live in the College Place school district, will attend the new high school. Open enrollment, the process of a student’s family choosing for their student to go to a school outside their district, will not be an option to those affected. According to Walla Walla Public Schools website, “Both College Place High School and Walla Walla High School would be staffed for a set number of students, thus making open enrollment not feasible.” As of now, the plan is to have only a 9th grade class the first year the school is opened and then add one class a year to the new College Place high school.
As a result, Wa-Hi’s athletic program would go from 4A to 3A classification, and some extra-curricular programs may be downsized. In addition to losing students, Wa-Hi is expecting to lose staff and class sections as well. “Using existing staffing formulas, the loss of 350 students from Walla Walla High School would mean the loss of approximately 15 teachers, or 75 sections from the master schedule,” according to the Walla Walla Public School’s website.
The project will, at the very least, take two years to complete.