Overcrowding plagues CCSD schools

LAS VEGAS -- On this first day of school, the Clark County School District is experiencing some growing pains.

CCSD projects it will serve an estimated 320,000 students this school year, breaking last year's record enrollment of more than 315,000 students.

The hardest hit campuses are elementary schools, which are almost 18 percent over-capacity on average.

Campuses are getting crowded and everyone from administrators to parents to kids is learning lessons on escalating enrollment.

It is the first day of school at Ries Elementary School, which is serving the booming southwest valley.

Brenna Monaghan has been coming here since kindergarten. On Monday, she began fifth grade.

"I actually know a lot of my friends here still, so that's good," Brenna said.

But Brenna's final year will be different because Ries Elementary is now a year-round school.

"It is way too crowded. Like when there's people coming in, there's no parking places because of the teachers and stuff," Brenna said.

This year, 10 elementary schools went year-round for a simple reason.

"We have more children than we have seats available," school board trustee Carolyn Edwards said.

Fixing the issue is a bit more complicated and would be costly.

"We could build 23 elementary schools right now that could open today, and they would be full, and some of them would be overcrowded," Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said.

Superintendent Skorkowsky says if an elementary school is 10 percent over the building's capacity, has at least eight portable buildings on campus and three years of growth, CCSD considers it to become a year-round.

Mathematically, it solves part of the problem.

"We're able to increase the building's capacity by 20 percent." Skorkowsky said.

CCSD says it will explore plans to look at options on how to deal with the overcrowding. Building a new elementary school is about $25 million, and money is tight.


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