WIAA Classifications Approved for 2020-24 Cycle; Shelton Dropping to 2A

The WIAA Executive Board finalized classification numbers for the 2020-24 cycle at its January 26 meeting. Under the classification process, Shelton will be a 2A school next school year. North Mason remains 2A and Mary M. Knight remains 1B.

Beginning with the 2020-24 classification cycle, schools will be assigned a classification based on pre-set enrollment thresholds as opposed to sorting schools into six evenly distributed classifications.

For the first time in WIAA history, free-and-reduced lunch counts were factored into the classification process as well. A school with a free and reduced lunch rate greater than the statewide average (47%) had its enrollment number reduced for each percent that they exceed the statewide average except at the 1B and 2B classification level. The maximum a school’s enrollment could be adjusted was capped at 40%. Both of those changes were passed by the WIAA Representative Assembly in January of 2019.

The figures listed for each school are the average enrollment, P223 of students in grades 9-11, as reported to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for the months of January, February, March, April, May, October, and November doubled (eight total counts). November is counted twice since the September figure is omitted due to the amount of changes to the student population a school experiences during the first month of the new school year. Private schools report monthly enrollments directly to the WIAA.

While enrollment figures set the baseline for classification alignments, a school can affect its classification in several ways. A school can opt up in classification, appeal its classification, or petition down a classification in football only. While any choice to opt-up will last the entirety of the four-year classification cycle, an appeal or petition down stands for two years, which is the next time schools will have the option to appeal classification.

In total, 46 schools chose to opt-up in classification while the WIAA District Directors and the WIAA Executive Board approved the classification appeal of ten schools and accepted the petition of nine schools petitioning down in football only.

Shelton was one of the ten approved classification appeal schools. Average enrollment for Shelton is 1,127 and with 61 percent free/reduced lunch the adjusted enrollment is 969.22. That adjusted number is 70 above the 899 limit for 2A. If approved by the Shelton School Board, Shelton would play in the Evergreen 2A League beginning in the fall. School Board is set to make a decision during their meeting Tuesday night.

North Mason’s average enrollment is 555 with 52 percent free/reduced lunch making the adjusted enrollment 527.25 which puts the Belfair school as one of the smaller 2A schools.

Mary M. Knight’s average enrollment is 42 with 78 percent free/reduced lunch, making the Matlock school’s adjusted enrollment 28.98. However, the free/reduced lunch adjustment does not apply to 1B and 2B schools.

As a comparison, the smallest average enrollment is four at the private school, Willows Prep. Skykomish High School is the smallest public school with an adjusted average enrollment of 6.21. The largest school in the state is Chiawana High school which has an average enrollment of 2,177.

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