Portables set for placement at Thurston

Roving teachers at Thurston Middle School will soon get a permanent place to instruct students.

The Laguna Beach Unified School District board awarded a contract for two temporary portables for the school, which has seen an enrollment spike in recent years, at its Dec. 10 meeting.

The board voted 4-1, with outgoing president William Landsiedel dissenting, to pay Mobile Modular Management Corp. $26,620 to place the portables at the school during winter break.

Board members approved the portables at its Oct. 22 meeting in response to the increase in enrollment at Thurston over the past few years, district facilities director Ted Doughty said.

Thurston has seen an enrollment hike every year since the 2006-07 school year, including an increase to 806 students from 722 in the past two years, according to a district staff report.

The portables will house two teachers who have been using different classrooms for each period to accommodate their students.

"You really want to have a teacher in their own classroom," Doughty said.  "You want the kids to have a homeroom, so to speak."

The board approved the renting the units for no more than two years and Doughty said it is a temporary solution.

He said the district hired a company for demographic research to determine if the enrollment growth will be sustained.

If so, Doughty said, the district would look into permanent additions, which is what Landsiedel favors.

"I think we would be better off building permanent new classrooms," Landsiedel said. "I would rather put money into a long-term project."

He said the classrooms will be ready for student use the week of Jan. 13.


Board changes

Jan Vickers is the new board president after fellow members unanimously selected her to the post at the Dec. 10 meeting.

Vickers, who replaced Landsiedel as president, was school board president from 1984-85; 1995-96 and 2005-06, according to Leisa Winston, the district's human resources and communications director.

Ketta Brown was unanimously selection as board clerk.

Vickers and Brown will each serve one-year terms on the five-member board that includes Betsy Jenkins and Theresa O'Hare, Winston said.


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