Spokane: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Spokane School District Number 81, representing all city schools, is the second largest in the state. Students' test scores are consistently above the national average, and over 70 percent of teachers hold master's degrees. In 2003 a facility and technology improvement bond was passed in the district which is allowing for various school updates as well as construction of new schools.

The following is a summary of data regarding Spokane public schools as of the 2002–2003 school year.

Total enrollment: 31,362

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 35

middle schools: 6

senior high schools: 6

other: 3

Student/teacher ratio: average 18:1

Teacher salaries

average: $46,110

Funding per pupil: $8,069

A variety of state-approved private elementary and secondary schools augment the public school system, including parochial schools, special schools such as the Lilac Blind Foundation, Montessori programs, and the Spokane Guild's School and Neuromuscular Center. The Spokane Art School offers classes, workshops, and master classes.

Public Schools Information: Spokane Public Schools, Community Relations Division, 200 North Bernard, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)354-7297

Colleges and Universities

Eastern Washington University (EWU), a state-operated school located about 15 miles from Spokane in Cheney, Washington, offers four-year undergraduate degrees in more than 100 academic majors, 10 masters degrees, and 55 graduate programs of study. The university operates a branch in downtown Spokane and enrolls about 9,700 students.

Gonzaga University and Law School, founded by the Jesuits in 1887, offers 50 undergraduate degree programs, 27 masters' degree programs, a doctoral program in educational leadership, and a J.D. (law degree). Washington State University at Spokane, a multi-campus research university, enrolls more than 16,000 students throughout the university system, 739 of whom study at the Spokane campus. These three institutions, together with Whitworth College and the Spokane Community Colleges, operate as a collaborative project the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute, which uses the collective resources of the institutions to improve the economic vitality of the region. Community Colleges of Spokane serve more than 23,000 students in a six-county region, awarding more than 4,400 two-year degrees each year in 120 professional and technical programs.

Libraries and Research Centers

Founded in 1904, the Spokane Public Library system comprises a Downtown Library overlooking Spokane Falls and five branch libraries. Total holdings include nearly 600,000 volumes; more than 35,000 video, music, and audiotapes and CDs; and a periodicals collection numbering more than 700 titles. Special collections include Northwest history, history of the book, genealogy, oral history, African American, and U.S., Washington state, and Spokane County government documents. The library system also sponsors community programs for residents of all ages.

Special libraries in Spokane include the Crosby Library at Gonzaga University, which contains a collection of Bing Crosby records and other memorabilia. Research at the new Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute at Riverpoint focuses on technology transfer for commercial uses. The Health Research and Education Center at Washington State University Spokane develops clinical and applied research in biomedical and social health areas. The Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training recruits and retrains qualified professionals at state hospital to use modern treatments.

Public Library Information: Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone (509)444-5300