February 19, 1996 in Nation/World

Panel Trims Options To Ease Crowded Schools Portable Classrooms, Modified Schedules Among Solutions Discussed

By The Spokesman-Review

School administrators could not start a year-round schedule in Coeur d’Alene elementary schools by next school year, a committee studying elementary overcrowding concluded last week.

The cost to go year-round would be about $200,000 per school. It would also require complex logistical arrangements to implement.

The district has neither the time nor the money to do it on such a short notice, said Bill Wermager, a parent and committee member.

“It may take legislative action to make it happen,” he said, referring to the need for more operating funds.

The 35-member committee of citizens and school employees has narrowed down short-term options for dealing with the crowding. They are: establishing kindergarten centers at Hayden Lake and Sorensen elementary schools; putting more portable classrooms at elementary schools; modifying the daily schedule for older elementary students; and turning art and music rooms into classrooms.

A modified schedule would have some students arriving at 7:30 a.m. and leaving at 1:15 p.m. Another group would start at 10:45 and leave at 4:30.

A combination of those solutions could create enough space to house the expected growth in elementary grades through the 1998-99 school year, said committee member Glenda Pope. On average, the district expects to add six classrooms of students per year.

All of the solutions under discussion involve changes in the elementary school boundaries, said committee co-chair Mike Bullard.

“That’s a given,” he said. “And it’s a given that somebody’s not going to like the boundary changes.”

Every year, families in the Ramsey Elementary attendance zone are affected because it’s one of the fastest growing areas in the district. This year, all kindergarten students from Ramsey are attending school in Hayden Lake.

The overcrowding committee is hoping to come up with a boundary adjustment that will anticipate future growth.

The ultimate solution would be a new school, parents and school officials agree. But the next school levy election is for a middle school, not an elementary school.

The various overcrowding solutions will be discussed in a town meeting March 4. A specific time and place has not been scheduled. After that, the committee will make a recommendation to the school board.

, DataTimes

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