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Overcrowded classrooms are such a big problem in Mukilteo, the school district has put off registering all day kindergarten students until they can figure out where to put all the kids.

Enrollment at elementary schools has grown by more than 500 since 2007. Another 350 are expected to arrive by 2017.

We have some elementary schools pushing enrollment of 800 kids. That's getting close to the size of a middle school, said district spokesman Andy Muntz.

Administrators with the Mukilteo School District are looking for ways to ease school overcrowding.

Muntz said the biggest problem is there's no money to build a new school. Voters haven't approved a bond measure in 13 years. The last one appeared on the 2008 ballot.

It's not like it didn't pass because we have to have a 60 percent super majority. It had a 58%. It's not that people don't care. I believe they care, said school mother Kelly Paschalis.

Instead of nine full day kindergarten classes, the district only has room for three. The number of kindergarteners has gotten so large, some parents have camped out overnight to secure their child a seat in the class.

The problem has gotten so bad, nine of the district's 11 elementary schools have stopped accepting enrollment applications from students who live outside the district boundaries.

Registration for all-day kindergarten classes were also delayed so administrators could figure out where to place all of the students.

We've added 17 portables over the past five years, said Muntz. We've needed a long term solution and that's what we're doing right now - trying to figure that out.

We need another bond issue. I don't see another way around it, said Paschalis.

But administrators are considering other solutions. Muntz said year-round school could help ease the burden.
Administrators are also looking into creating kindergarten centers.

We'd take kindergarteners from a variety of schools in the area and put them in one place. That would relieve classroom space so schools could use them for other grades, said Muntz. The kids would go to the center for a year and go back to their regular schools the following year.

The bill for building a kindergarten center would be $30 million, which is much less than building an entire school.

Another option: move administrators out from the district headquarters and use that building to provide classroom space.

The school board is expected to present its proposed solutions next fall.

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