West Middleton capacity challenges discussed

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Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra, Director of Elementary Education Rainey Briggs and West Middleton principal Katrina Krych shared possible short-term solutions for enrollment growth at West Middleton.

Cyra noted the three administrators have walked through the school multiple times and also vetted possible solutions. She said there currently aren't enough students projected to warrant any additional sections at West Middleton in 2018-19 but noted that could change over the summer.
 
District officials have worked with J.H. Findorff & Son representatives on costs for portable classrooms, which would have windows, bathrooms and water hooked up. She believes the current portables are much more like a typical classroom than older models. The District is looking at one unit, which would provide two classrooms, or two units, depending on need and cost.

Kyrch has talked with parents, including at a PTO meeting earlier this fall that Cyra, Director of Communications Perry Hibner and Board president Bob Green also attended and answered questions. Krych has also spoke with staff.

She said staff and families aren't excited about other possible options, such as doubling up classrooms or making an art teacher or another staff member travel from classroom to classroom with equipment on a cart. She did note the school has been doing that for technology classes this year.

Cyra noted if there are concerns about portables it's that the District hasn't used them in awhile, which means most have no idea what they look like or how they function. Cyra noted if a decision is made to proceed with portables the latest it could happen would be June so that everything could be in place by the start of the school year. Superintendent George Mavroulis said he prefers the decision be made earlier so West Middleton can begin planning.   

"I appreciate talking about this now,'' Krych said. "It's going to happen at some point and it's good to have a plan and be prepared. With any option, there are going to be concerns. We have to pick the best option and embrace it. What's important is that we have amazing teachers.''

Director of Lori Ames noted preliminary budget assumptions for the 2018-19 school year will begin in January. Portables cost about $75,000 a year, she said.