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Edwards On School Overcrowding

Superintendent responds to comments about overcrowding at Oakhurst Elementary School.

The big jump in enrollment in the City Schools of Decatur really upset some people -- especially parents of kindergarteners.

, 3,233 students started school a few weeks ago. That's about 11 percent more than finished school in the Decatur system last spring. The biggest jump was in kindergarten enrollment: 24 percent.

At , some parents of kindergarten students were first told their neighborhood school was too crowded and they'd have to go to another school, according to the Oakhurst Leaflet, a monthly publication of the Oakhurst Neigbhorhood Association. The problem was fixed, but hard feelings lingered.

That why Phyllis Edwards, the superintendent of the City Schools of Decatur, recently posted these comments on the school website about overcrowding at Oakhurst Elementary.

Edwards said she was directly responding to questions raised in the Oakhurst Leaflet.

She wrote about 1,900 words, so set aside some time if you plan to read the whole thing.

Garrett Goebel August 19, 2011 at 02:17 PM
These are complex issues without perfect solutions. Decisions have to be made with incomplete and/or imperfect data. It is worth mentioning that the 2008-2009 Reconfiguration Committee was a community engagement process which brought together parents, teachers, and administrators to look at what changes were necessary to be prepared for enrollment growth. The committee recommended the construction of the 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue and converting Glennwood to a K-3. Based on the central office's enrollment projections, it also recommended adding 7 additional classrooms at the K-3 schools. The recommendation was accepted by the Board. The 7x K-3 classrooms have not been added. However, we do have trailers in place which can be used if needed. With the 2010 Census showing almost as many homes in Decatur with children aged 0-6 as 6-17, it likely that our enrollments will continue to grow. We need to revisit the recommendation for additional K-3 classrooms and find a long term solution which can deal flexibly with periods of both rising and declining enrollments.

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