Honey Dew Elementary could open

Honey Dew Elementary school could open next year depending on how much money state legislators decide to give schools this year.

Although most of Renton’s elementary schools are at or above capacity, the reopening Honey Dew Elementary could be stymied by teacher layoffs.

There are about 490 students to fill another school, but there may not be enough teachers.

“There are a lot of schools in the north end that are really crowded now,” said spokesperson Randy Matheson.

Honey Dew hasn’t been used as a neighborhood school in about 12 years, although it was used to house students while their schools were being renovated.

RedHeader

Tentative meetings for Honey Dew boundaries

7 p.m., March 7, Dimmitt Middle School 12320 80th Ave. S., Seattle

7 p.m., April 1, Hazen High School, 1101 Hoquiam Ave. N.E., Renton

Decisions about whether to open the school have been held off until Washington legislators decide on the final details of their budget.

In a worst-case scenario, the district could face a $4.3 million in cuts with about 35 teacher layoffs.

Layoffs would increase classroom sizes by about three students, effectively freeing up more rooms and making Honey Dew unnecessary.

In addition to $600,000 the district has already set aside, the district plans to put another $1 million toward opening the school.

Most of that money will go toward staff, though the school will need to buy some books and materials.

If the district doesn’t open Honey Dew next year, it will continue to set aside money, Matheson said.

The district continues to grow, he said. “We have to be ready to have that school open.”

February the Enrollment Review Committee submitted a plan to the district detailing its suggestion for Honey Dew boundary revisions.

“The greater conversation people are going to want to have is not whether Honey Dew opens, but what happens to the boundaries if it does,” Matheson said.

Most of the elementary school boundaries will change, especially for schools in the northern part of the district.

The district has two tentative meetings to discuss the boundaries, March 31 at Dimmitt Middle School and April 1 at Hazen High School, at 7 p.m.

“Frankly, it likely will happen,” Matheson said of the re-opening, adding that it hinges all-day kindergarten and teacher staffing ratio money.

The house’s budget, which would still mean about 20 teacher layoffs for Renton, was alone in its generosity.

Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed cutting full-day kindergarten, while both legislative bodies recommended it be restored.

The Democrat-run Legislature went into special session this week, after failing to agree on a budget by March 11.

Meanwhile, the district is left guessing what it’s budget will be.

“We’re starting to make headway on figuring out where we can make some cuts,” Matheson said.

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