School Board Discusses More Overcrowding Options

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

As the District 51 School Board races to solve the school overcrowding problem, possible solutions are beginning to take shape.

During Tuesday night's school board meeting, District 51 staff gave board members an update to the recommendations made back in February.

They reported that several decisions the board has already made, including creating additional table space in the Shelledy Elementary lunchroom, adding a modular classroom to Pomona Elementary, and adding two new rooms to Thunder Mountain Elementary would cost $65,000.

But their main focus was settling down on options for schools they weren't sure what to do with -- specifically those in Fruita.

Officials say some of the most immediate needs are at Rim Rock and Shelledy Elementary Schools. Tuesday, they introduced several options to reduce the number of students at those two schools:

-change school boundaries to send of the overflow to Loma Elementary which has 75 to 100 open seats
-Spend $300,000 to bring two modular classrooms to Rim Rock Elementary
-Move Rim Rock Elementary 5th graders to Fruita Middle School

They also discussed two options that they say couldn't go into effect until 2010:

-spend $5.1 million on a small school in South Fruita that would have one class of each grade, K-5
-turn Rim Rock and Shelledy into one school that would house all K-2 grades and another that would house all 3-5 grades

"We know that these are very short term solutions," said Jeff Kirtland, spokesperson for School District 51. "We know that we can solve one year's problem in terms of overcrowding, but then the other side is how are we monitoring student growth."

Officials say a lot is still up in the air at this point because they don't know what enrollment will look like in a year and they still have to figure out where a lot of the money to put those options in place would come from.

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