Classroom overcrowding concerns in Baltimore Co.

Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 06:47:12-04

Baltimore County Public Schools has seen a lot of growth recently.  For the last seven years, school enrollment has increased, giving the district the largest student body in 38 years.
Those numbers were the focus of a community meeting Wednesday night at George Washington Carver High School parents from the central area of the district requested.  Only 14 people came out, but the issue is huge.

BCPS just released its annual 'Students Count' report.  The document is nearly 300 pages long and projects enrollment for the next 10 years, but the bottom line is the district is growing.

System-wide, elementary schools are nearly 6 percent over capacity.  While middle schools and high schools have empty seats.

"We see a growing enrollment in elementary schools over time, that's gonna mean that our middle schools are gonna get a little bit more full, and were also going to have some challenges at the high schools, high school enrollment is going to grow as well," said BCPS Chief Accountability Officer, Russell Brown.

In the central area, just more than half of the elementary schools are over capacity.  But parents say school leaders need to look at more then just numbers.

"He's saying that we're short seats, we're also short storage space, we have dated hallways that aren't wide enough to accommodate our traffic flow," Lisa McClellan said.

"Our schools are something we should take pride in, and the conditions that they're in, were not able to do so," Jason Garber said.

Many of these parents think how the buildings function and flow should also play a role in system planning, not just student enrollment.

"It's time that we get a plan in place," Garber said.  "I know it's gonna take time, but we need to get a plan in place now."

According to officials, the Southwest and Northeast areas of the school district actually have the biggest challenges with enrollment and overcrowding.
Parents who came out to Wednesday night's meeting say they're tired of simply patching problems, and they want real solutions.