Columbia School Board talks about options to solve overcrowding at Mill Creek Elementary
Announcement on new Southwest Elementary school postponed
The Columbia School Board postponed the latest update on land for the new Southwest Elementary school at ITS meeting Monday night.
The new school will open in 2016 and is expected to help the overcrowding problem at Mill Creek Elementary.
The Board talked about short-term options to fix the overcrowding at Mill Creek in the short-term.
Half-day kindergarten or a kindergarten academy were two options presented, but Columbia Public Schools said many educators are against those options.
Another option discussed was boundary shifts, which would mean some students would go to other schools depending on where they live.
No decisions were made Monday night, but these are the options up for discussion to fix the problem.
According to CPS district numbers, just six years ago the school registered 762 students. This year it's up 103 students.
District Spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said they can no longer put off the need for space.
"There's really no way for us to go another year without addressing the problem," she said.
Two new trailers have been added at Mill Creek to get through the 2013-2014 school year.
But Baumstark said leaders need to come up with other short-term solutions in addition to the trailers until Southwest Elementary is opened.
"As you have buildings that are over capacity, it becomes more and more challenging to be able to have students in a common space, so for example, in the cafeteria or in the gym," Baumstark told ABC 17 News.
The trailers help fix some of the overcrowding issues in common spaces, but they create more challenges for teachers.
"Some of the challenges we've had in the trailer would be, like, bathroom breaks," said Mill Creek third-grade teacher Madeline Watson.
The trailers don't have bathrooms, so students have to cross the parking lot into the main building to use the bathroom.
"When there's two kids gone, or sometimes three or four will go, we have to wait for them to come back before we get the class going on something new," Watson said. "That could take five to 10 minutes of the day."
Baumstark said the overcrowding is not affecting the quality of education, but said CPS wants to come up with solutions to make the next 2 1/2 years easier on everyone.
The board said it expects to have an update on the land for the new elementary school later in the week.
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