Hermiston School District one fastest growing in state

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The student population within the Hermiston School District increased 2.3 percent from the previous year, making it the fifth fastest-growing among the state’s 33 largest districts.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released the 2012-13 school year enrollment numbers for Oregon school districts on Feb. 7 which shows the Hermiston with a student population in excess of 5,200 students, making it the 29th largest district in the State, surpassing Newberg and Sherwood.

According to ODE’s enrollment database, Hermiston School District has grown by 1,123 students since 1999, which was the first year the ODE provided district enrollment reports. This represents about a one hundred student per year average growth.

“We are pleased to see that we continue to attract families to our community and our schools,” said Deputy Superintendent Wade Smith. “Though reaffirming, this data is not surprising. Our growth trend continues to hold steady to forecasts provided by a Portland State University study, commissioned by the Board of Education prior to our last bond measure.”

To accommodate the steady growth, the Hermiston community passed a$69.9 million bond measure in 2008 which provided additional classroom space for elementary and middle school students across the district. As projected in the bond programming, the additional classrooms will provide the necessary space to accommodate growth through 2015, according to the school district. However, with the continued increase of students and the anticipation of full-day kindergarten offered in the 2015-16 school year, the district officials said they will likely need to create additional classroom space by using temporary modular facilities.

Smith said that despite continued enrollment growth, the district has been able to maintain low class sizes compared to its state counterparts.

According to the class size reports presented to the school board each month, kindergarten classes average around 22 students per teacher, upper elementary grades average 26 students, and the district staffs its middle and high schools using a 28:1 student-to-teacher ratio.