KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — All Okinawa “Space Available” Department of Defense Dependents Schools high school students will be going to Kubasaki High School next year.

To help balance attendance between overcrowded Kadena and under-enrolled Kubasaki high schools, all students on a space available basis will have to attend Kubasaki, according to Ron Sharik, DODDS Okinawa chief of staff, in a news release. Students who aren’t covered by the status of forces agreement attend base schools on a space available basis.

Even students who had attended Kadena High on a waiver will have to attend the only other DODDS high school on the island. The only students not affected will be Kadena seniors who attended the school as juniors, Sharik said.

Sharik said the district reviews school zones every year to ensure enrollment doesn’t exceed the school’s capacity.

“This rezoning process will be ongoing for the immediate future,” Sharik said in the release. “For the next few years there will be many changes in family housing and these changes will affect enrollment at our schools.”

Sharik also said the zones could change again in the near future since the Marine Corps changed its minimum tour length to two years. DODDS expects about 1,000 more students over the next three to four years.

Another zoning change is affecting elementary students. Camp Foster’s Zukeran Elementary was at its capacity, while Stearley Heights Elementary on Kadena Air Base had plenty of space, Sharik said. A decision was made late last school year to rezone students living in the Plaza Housing area to Stearley Heights, which would even out enrollment.

“The goal of our rezoning efforts was to solve our problems while affecting the smallest number of students,” stated Dr. Gayle Vaughn-Wiles, superintendent for DODDS Okinawa, in the release. “We had a panel made up of representatives of all the military services, parents, housing, student transportation and our office. They looked at numerous proposals. In the end, this proposal solved the short-term problem while leaving us some flexibility to adjust to further changes.”

Sharik said since all changes have been coordinated with local military commanders, parents with concerns over the new zoning should address them with their commanders or community representatives.

Those parents that requested waivers to other DODDS schools would be notified by the gaining school, the release said. Selections will be in the middle of August once all space-required students have been accounted for.

Parents of Space-A students will be notified if there is room for their students during the last week of August, after all other students have been placed.

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