The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

School Board Accepts Plan to Reduce Overcrowding

McDougle, Seawell and Scroggs elementary schools are either overcrowded or close to full capacity, according to a report conducted by the board's overcrowding committee. The committee recommended three separate solutions for each of the schools, which officials say will be implemented immediately.

But although the board approved measures that would move some students from one school to another, officials emphasized that the plan should not be characterized as redistricting.

The committee, which consists of a group of parents, teachers and administrators, was formed in September.

The report states that McDougle faces the worst overcrowding with 78 students over its maximum of 596. To alleviate overcrowding at McDougle, future students from the Lake Hogan Farms development, which is currently under construction, will attend Carrboro Elementary instead of McDougle.

Residents whose contracts to build or purchase new homes in Lake Hogan Farms before March 31 will not be included in the spot redistricting.

The board also approved eliminating the prekindergarten class at McDougle and moving those students to a site to be specified at a later date, increasing the school's capacity by 23 students.

Two mobile classrooms also will be added at McDougle, increasing its capacity by an additional 52 students.

Seawell Elementary School, which is now at 108 percent capacity even with several mobile classrooms, also will experience changes under the plan.

Resource areas, specifically a science room, will be moved to Smith Middle School when that school is completed, creating additional classroom capacity. Seawell students will also use Smith facilities for physical education, music and art.

A third school, Scroggs Elementary School, will move its prekindergarten students to Glenwood and Carrboro elementary schools, increasing Scroggs' capacity by 52 students.

School board member Roger Waldon said the board was working to adjust attendance zones so that new families moving into the community do not have to send their children to overcrowded schools.

The district hopes to gain approval from the Orange County Board of Commissioners for a referendum that, if approved by voters, would fund construction of two new elementary schools.

But school board members are looking at other options should the referendum fail, such as year-round schooling.

School board member Gloria Faley said that even with the short-term remedies, overcrowding woes will continue.

"By the time we actually build, (the schools) will be jammed to the gills."

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