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Board Looks at 3 New Options to Ease Class Overcrowding

Times Education Writer

Partly in response to strong opposition voiced by parents at a recent public hearing, the Los Angeles school board is considering three new options to deal with overcrowding, including one that would not place any additional schools on year-round calendars next year.

About 80 parents who spoke at a hearing last week lodged vigorous objections to a district proposal to ease overcrowding by placing as many as 78 additional schools on year-round operation next year. According to district spokesman Bill Rivera, the new options outlined by district staff at a special board meeting Monday incorporate some of the ideas raised during the hearing.

The board will hold a second hearing Thursday as part of its deliberations on possible solutions to the district’s classroom shortage. The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. at district headquarters downtown, 450 N. Grand Ave. The board expects to adopt a final plan on Dec. 1.

Possible Solutions

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According to Rivera, an estimated 10,500 students will be without a classroom seat next year unless the board finds ways to expand the space available in the district. Among the possible solutions it is considering are changing integration ratios, reopening closed schools, adding portable classrooms to selected campuses and placing more schools on a year-round system. Now, about 130,000 students at 93 schools attend classes on a year-round schedule.

Assistant Supt. Sara Coughlin, who is overseeing the plans, said the three new plans will provide enough classroom seats to accommodate the 16,000 new students expected to enroll next year. However, she noted that “without a doubt” more schools will have to go year-round in the 1988-89 school year.

The first of the three new options presented Monday would avoid placing any additional schools on the year-round system next year. But, in order to bypass the need for more year-round schools, the district would have to bus more students from overcrowded campuses--about 12,800 students--to more spacious campuses. In addition, this plan would add as many as 380 portable classrooms to those campuses with available space.

The second plan would place as many as 35 additional elementary and secondary schools on year-round calendars and would make it necessary to bus about 14,000 students. Many of the schools proposed to go year-round in this plan are not overcrowded now but have room to accommodate youngsters who would be bused from campuses that are short on space, Rivera said.

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This plan also would add 110 portable classrooms to campuses that are over-enrolled and to the “receiver” schools that will serve the bused students.

Under the third option, as many as 48 schools would be converted to year-round operation. These campuses, Rivera said, have the worst crowding in the district.

In addition, about 13,500 pupils would be bused to other schools and as many as 123 temporary bungalows would be added.


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