Tacoma: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Tacoma School District #10, the third largest system in the state, is administered by a five-member, nonpartisan school board that selects the superintendent.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tacoma public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 32,258

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 36

middle schools: 11

senior high schools: 7

Student/teacher ratio: 22.7:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $32,154

maximum: $64,258

Many private and parochial schools in Tacoma offer alternative and religious curricula.

Public Schools Information: Tacoma Public Schools, Central Administration, 601 S. 8th St., PO Box 1357, Tacoma, WA 98401-1357; telephone (253)571-1000

Colleges and Universities

Tacoma is home to numerous universities and colleges. Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound, both private, grant baccalaureate and advanced degrees in such fields as business, music, and law. University of Puget Sound is considered integral to the area's economy. Tacoma Community College and Pierce College provide occupational training and college preparatory curricula. Also located in the area is the University of Washington-Tacoma, where enrollment is expected to reach 6,000 students by 2007. Private technical institutes include Clover Park, Bates, and Business Computer Training Institute.

Libraries and Research Centers

Tacoma is served by two public library systems. The Tacoma Public Library, with a downtown facility housed in a renovated 1903 Carnegie Library building plus nine branches, maintains holdings of more than 1.18 million items including books, 2,210 periodical subscriptions, plus records, slides, tapes, films, maps, and art reproductions. Special collections include city archives and World War I books and posters; the library is a depository for federal and state government documents. The Pierce County Library System operates 17 branches in addition to its downtown location; holdings consist of more than 1.1 million volumes. Several specialized libraries in the city are affiliated with government agencies, universities, corporations, churches, and a local newspaper.

Research activities in such fields as invertebrate zoology, herpetology, and ornithology are conducted at the University of Puget Sound's James R. Slater Museum of Natural History in Tacoma.

Public Library Information: Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98402-2098; telephone (253)591-5666. Pierce County Library System, 3005 112th Street East, Tacoma, WA 98446; telephone (253)536-6500