School board discusses elementary school distribution issues

Junior+Jocelyn+Shan+works+on+her+AP+U.S.+History+review.+Shan+said+that+building+a+new+elementary+school+was+not+the+best+option+to+solve+the+distribution+issue.

Junior Jocelyn Shan works on her AP U.S. History review. Shan said that building a new elementary school was not the best option to solve the distribution issue.

Jessica Mo

According to school board president Layla Spanenberg, there have been no new developments with regards to the superintendent search.

“We received a number of very very qualified applicants and we are in the process of vetting those applicants,” she said.

Spanenberg said at a workshop meeting,  the board reviewed facility planning for the district.

The next school due for renovation is Orchard Park Elementary, followed by Carmel Elementary.

However, Spanenberg said while building a new elementary school would cost $26 million, renovating one would cost around 80 percent of that total—around $21 million.

“So many things, like the HVAC system, need to be totally replaced for the entire building. In both of those buildings, the ceiling is so low, you need to raise the roof,” she said. “It’s a very complicated process.”

However, the board is working to address distribution issues. According to Spanenberg, there are only four elementary schools west of Meridian St. However, 50 percent of students live west of Meridian.

“(There is a) discrepancy in how many seats we have. The buildings on the west side are overflowing. We have a number of students who live west of Meridian and are bused to the east side,” she said.

As a result, the district is seeking information on how to proceed with the elementary school situation.

“Some people think the whole discussion is to close the school and that really isn’t the whole discussion. The whole point of the discussion is to share the status of where we have open seats in the district and solicit feedback from the community so district leadership can make fiscally responsible recommendations,” Spanenberg said. “We have open seats not in the right place.”

She said building a new elementary school west of Meridian is a viable option.

Junior Jocelyn Shan said although she could see the appeal of expanding the number of elementary schools, she did not think it was the best option.

“I don’t feel like adding more elementary schools to CCS is the best option. As an elementary schooler, I do not ever remember class sizes ever being an issue, even though my class size ranged from 15 to 30 kids. But, it never interfered with my studies,” Shan said.

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