News 4's Chris Gordon reports on expansion plan to ease overcrowding in some Montgomery County Public Schools.
Montgomery County schools are considering a big expansion of classroom space as the district grapples with enrollment growth of 2,500 additional students each year -- and as existing classrooms strain to house their students.
"Every nook and cranny, every classroom has students in it," said Kristin Goldston of the Highland Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association. About 90 percent of the new enrollment is in the district's elementary schools.
"And there are some times when we can't really find space for everyone," Goldston said.
Joshua Starr, Montgomery County's school superintendent, plans to ask for $1.55 billion in additional funding for new classroom space over the next six years. That number does not include money for any new schools, but keeps plans for five planned schools on schedule.
Actually, Starr said $2.2 billion dollars is needed for capital improvements. But knowing the limits of local budgets and local taxpayers, he lowered that request before he asks Montgomery County Council and the Maryland legislature for funding.
"If the money from the state does not come through, then we will unfortunately have to delay some of our revitalization and expansion, some of the new schools that communities were expected to get," Starr said.
At Highland Elementary -- which was built in the 1950s and renovated almost 25 years ago -- plans are to build a two-story wing to expand the school. That construction will take until the year 2018.
In the meantime they may have to use portable classrooms here. That does not please parents who have children in school now, who may not ever see the new wing.
"I thnk they should hurry up with building more space for the kids," said parent Weltzy Rodas. "Portable classrooms are not...you know they have to get out of the school, probably they're going to get sick."
But another parent, Anthony Romeno, said, portable classrooms "were very common when I was in school. So it's not really a bad thing."