School board members tackle overcrowding
Trustees okay temporary measures to ease the situation at Castle Heights
|Carbon County Superintendent Patsy Bueno seen here addressing a crowd at Bruin Point Point Elementary, last August. |
The Carbon County board members gave a thumbs up to purchasing two portable classrooms to help ease crowding in one school and to house a preschool in another, at last Wednesday's meeting.
The decision to order the modulars came after Carbon County School District Superintendent Patsy Bueno reported to the board that a couple of elementary schools are practically busting at their seams..
"We can't put one more class into the school. We have to do something," Bueno said referring to Castle Heights.
While both Castle Heights and Creekview are essentially out of space, Bueno indicated that Castle Heights is in the biggest crunch. She said that the administration has been looking at taking the computers out of the lab and putting them into the library just to create one more classroom at Castle Heights.
However, she indicated that eliminating the computer lab would be a bandaid solution. She said that all of the district's elementary schools are potentially facing overcrowding as the county's demographics continue to change.
The superintendent told the board members that the administration had come up with three possible solutions to the long-term problem:
Making boundary changes to distribute students more evenly throughout the district. A solution that she deemed very, very difficult to accomplish.
Having the principal of Wellington Elementary hold an open house and invite students back to her school. Wellington actually has at least two open classrooms available.
Redistributing the grade levels, which would result in junior high schools being sixth through eighth. She said there was also talk of creating a sixth grade center at Wellington.
However, none of the suggestions seemed to be ones that the board was ready to act on at the Feb. 13 meeting. Not even moving the computers at Castle Heights seemed to be an option the board wanted to take.
"I hate to take out the computer lab if its really needed," Boardmember Debi Blackburn said.
Her colleagues agreed and settled on ordering portables to take some of the pressure off next year.
Included in the modular classroom discussion was a second agenda item covering the preschool at Bruin Point Elementary in East Carbon.
According to Bueno the district has been in discussion with Pentacreek to purchase a seminary owned by the company for the preschool. She said however, there are some glitches in the plan.
"We are still trying to negotiate for the seminary building, but the original deed from Kaiser Steel states that the structure can only be used for religious reasons," Bueno said.
With a crisis at Castle Heights pending and the situation at Bruin Point appearing tenuous, Boardmember Wayne Woodward moved to order two modulars.
The board agreed that when its closer to the next school year that the company supplying the portables will likely be swamped with orders and that it made sense to go ahead and put Carbon's request in early to ensure the structures' availability. The motion was passed unanimously.
Bueno presented the board with a bid $31,033 for a single two-room portable, which includes a bathroom in each room.
In other business the board approved a motion to allow district teams who attend teacher hiring fairs at Utah universities to interview and hire on the spot.
The district sends representatives to the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Utah State University and Southern Utah University to recruit new teachers each year.
The motion passed at the Feb. 13 meeting will allow the representatives to offer contracts following the interview and hiring process completion.