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Highline high schoolers facing consolidation say, 'Small schools now!'

Five small, specialized high schools in the Highline School District won't be small much longer. The district in south King County plans to consolidate them into two larger schools next fall.

But as school officials are learning, that's not what many students want.

Dozens and dozens of students held a protest Friday morning in SeaTac, saying they were not consulted about the school changes. Many of them said they don't want the schools to change. They chanted: “What do we want, small schools, when do we want it, now!"

The schools are small now, with 300-400 students each. They each focus on a different topic, including the arts, technology, leadership, global connections, and health and human services.

District officials say after a yearlong review, they decided those schools didn't offer enough to students. Catherine Carbone Rogers is the Highline schools spokesperson.

Rogers: "At a small school, it's hard to offer the range of coursework and extracurricular activities that you'd find at a larger school."

Rogers says with the consolidations the schools will be able to offer more AP and elective classes. She says teachers and students will help develop the course structure, to be in place by next fall.

Highline school district covers SeaTac, Burien and surrounding areas, and it is one of the state's most diverse districts.