Department of Defense Education Activity

Rezone of Schools in Okinawa for School Year 20-21

For Immediate Release — February 27, 2020 | PAC-South

Students headed to school

PAC SOUTH DSO — February 27, 2020 — Dear Sunabe Resident school families,
I wanted to take the opportunity to communicate with you regarding the planned school district rezoning. Like most school districts, it is necessary to rezone attendance areas periodically based on school need and shifting student populations. In August, when school opened we had a concern with the disparate population in some of our schools. The schools that traditionally service mostly on base housing areas were smaller and those identified to service off base housing were much larger. Kadena Middle School opened with just over 700 students which was well beyond the designated capacity. The other two middle schools were well under their capacity. The high schools were also significantly different in their enrollments.

Physical space and square footage guide the number of students the schools can support. The number of enrolled students also impacts other school operations to include; available course offerings, numbers of staff members, as well as budget for supplies and extracurricular programs. Very early in the school year it was determined that rezoning would be needed to allow for more equity in enrollment and opportunities for students at all of our schools. Kadena Middle and Kubasaki High Schools were identified as priorities.

  • After looking at the causes for the population shifts and disparity of enrollments, these are the trends that have been identified:
  • Base housing patterns and housing availability have changed. Several on base communities have been closed for renovation or replacement.
  • This change in on base availability has caused more families to move into off base housing.
  • The availability and affordability of off base housing has moved north toward Yomitan. This has increased the population of the schools on Kadena.
  • The schools have not significantly changed enrollment areas in many years. There have been major changes in the locations of large groups of off base residences. (Examples; Sunabe, Chibana)

Lester middle school was identified as the best option to support students in the Sunabe housing area. This area lies on the outer edge of the current Kubasaki High School and Lester Middle School enrollment zones. The transportation times from Sunabe to Lester are similar to the times to Kadena Middle School. In addition, we want to communicate this change early to allow families time to plan for next school year. Reregistration will be starting soon for all students who will be attending DoDEA Schools in School Year 20-21. Families will need to register students at the schools where they will be zoned to attend.

In summary, students who live in Sunabe will attend Lester Middle School for grades 6-8 and Kubasaki High School for grades 9-12. If you are unsure of your attendance area, please check with Danielle Brasfield the district registrar at 634-8995. We understand that change can be difficult, but our staff will be there to support students through the required shifts. Not only will students continue to have the friends from their current neighborhood, but will have an opportunity to expand their peer group in a new setting. Please feel free to contact your school principal if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,
Jim Journey
Pacific South District Superintendent