Letter | Overcrowding at school critical
February 22, 2012 · Updated 1:04 PM
As a parent of two children at West Mercer, with a third entering in the fall, I see every day the overcrowding issues that plague the district. In three years, West Mercer has gone from approximately 620 to 683 students. For a school that was only meant to accommodate 450, this 10 percent increase has brought about many changes; none to the benefit of the children.
1. With no more classroom space, more students mean increased class size.
2. Two 30-minute lunches were changed to three 20-minute lunches due to capacity. My children routinely say they no longer have enough time to finish their lunch. How are children supposed to learn when they are hungry?
3. Two portables have been added, for a total of eight, significantly reducing play space. When the portables first went up, my son was upset because they took over the popular kickball space.
4. More classes are doubling up for P.E. and music, resulting in 50 plus children all in the same space at the same time.
5. Popular PTA-sponsored events, such as the Hoe Down, which brings the community together, can no longer be held at the school because the one multi-purpose room cannot accommodate everyone within fire code.
These are just a few changes caused by the impact of 65 students on the West Mercer population in three years. This letter does not even address the inherent problems of housing 683 students in a facility that was designed for 450. Nor does it address the problem of the continued growth of the downtown core. More apartments mean more children. But where will they go? West Mercer has maxed out on the number of portables. So I can only look at dismay at housing growth with no corresponding plan to enlarge school facilities to absorb this growth.
For all those who write your letters to the editor against the bond, I ask this. Go visit the schools. Spend a day in each of them. See for yourselves the issues that the children face. Or talk to your neighbors with children or grandchildren in the district. The children cannot vote; they do not have a voice. So please, take a look; educate yourself on the real conditions before you voice objections on “behalf” of the children.
Better schools increase property values. Better schools invite growth. Growth brings employment and wealth. In the long run, as a property owner and as a community member, it is to everyone’s benefit to vote “yes” for children and for schools. I urge you to vote “yes” on April 17.