Board To Hear Crowding Solutions

Three months of meetings led a group of parents and principals here to conclude what they hoped to avoid - children will have to be shuffled from school to school next fall.

Hopefully, with one big ripple effect districtwide, students will have about three years of peace until they get shuffled again, the theory goes.

Coeur d’Alene’s elementary school overcrowding committee will present its recommendations to the Coeur d’Alene School Board tonight.

The committee researched several options for creating more room in the schools, including year-round schools, adjusted daily schedules, centralized kindergarten centers, and using art and music rooms as regular classrooms.

Many of the parents on the committee had hoped to avoid moving students from school to school, something their own families had faced in previous years.

“What we found was there are seats, there are classrooms, and the students are just not in the right place for that,” said Stephanie Powers, a parent who co-chaired the committee. “The downtown schools have lost population and the northern schools have gained.”

Each year, the districts typically make minor adjustments from school to school, but a big districtwide boundary change has been avoided.

The committee believes that’s the best solution to provide the most stability for the next three years, Powers said.

The committee held a community meeting on the issue earlier this month, and the consensus of the 300 people who attended was that - however unpleasant initially - the big boundary change is the best short-term solution.

“We were looking for options that would not move boundary lines, but because of past partial solutions and not looking at the district as a whole, we needed to look at the district as a whole,” Powers said.

In the long-term, the school district hopes to build another elementary school.

One reason school officials avoid changing boundaries is because parents and children don’t like it. Many students have to adjust to a new school.

This time, committee members hope the concept draws more support due to community involvement.

In other business tonight, the school board will hear a report on the high school drug search and plans for the $10 million school levy election on May 21.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the school district headquarters, 311 N. 10th St.

, DataTimes

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