COSTA MESA : School Crowding Relief Plan Revised

Newport-Mesa School Unified District officials have changed their recommendations for relieving overcrowding in the Estancia High School zone, proposing that both Adams Kindergarten Center and Victoria Elementary be reopened to house students from that area in Costa Mesa.

The announcement was met with applause by the approximately 30 parents attending the meeting.

District staff members and parents have been working for months on a proposal to change boundaries and open new schools in Estancia zone, where all four elementary schools are expected to reach capacity within the next two years.

Under the previous recommendation, Adams would have been opened in the fall of 1991, and would have been changed from a kindergarten to a K-5 school. All sixth-graders in the district would then have attended TeWinkle Intermediate School.

But, citing concerns about hourlong bus rides for some youngsters, Assistant Supt. Carol Berg said that the staff decided in favor of another alternative that will allow many of the students living near the Victoria site to walk to school.

Under the current recommendation, Victoria and Adams will open as a K-5 school in September, 1992. During the 1991-92 school year, sixth-graders from California and Pomona Elementary schools would attend TeWinkle, while Wilson Elementary will become a 2-5 grade school. Adams will remain a kindergarten center, but will continue to house Wilson's first-graders to minimize the number of times that the children have to switch schools.

In the fall of 1992, there will also be new boundaries established for California, Pomona, Whittier and Wilson elementary schools, and all become K-5 schools.

The interim year will be used to make construction repairs to Victoria and install enough portable classrooms to accommodate the estimated 400 students that will attend during the first year, said Student Services Director Dale Wooley.

"We can make a pretty nice setup, though we will have to add a number of classrooms," Wooley said. The portable classrooms may reduce the playground area, but there "should be enough space for youngsters to play and have physical education programs."

The board is scheduled to decide on one of 11 alternatives for relieving overcrowding in the Estancia zone on Oct. 23.

Wooley said that for the last three years, the district has seen a growth of about 500 students each year at the elementary school level. So far, the growth has meant the district has had to reopen Lincoln Junior High in Corona del Mar, and Wooley said that new school openings may also be needed in the Costa Mesa and Newport Harbor high school zones.

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