Superintendent George Arlotto announced today that prekindergarten students who have enrolled or plan to enroll at Tyler Heights Elementary School for the 2015-2016 school year will instead be educated at Georgetown East Elementary School as part of a plan to partially ease overcrowding at Tyler Heights.
Dr. Arlotto laid out the plan to parents and community members gathered in the cafeteria/gymnasium at Tyler Heights, a school with a state-rated capacity of 442 students but an official current enrollment of 602 students that is projected to grow to 637 next year. There are 13 portable classrooms at Tyler Heights, the most at any school in the county.
The plan entails changes for the 2015-2016 school year only. A decision about plans for future years will be made next spring.
On April 22, 2015, the Board of Education charged Dr. Arlotto with developing a plan after it unanimously voted against all four options before it regarding the redistricting of the school. Instead, the Board opted to await the completion of area school renovation projects and the new comprehensive school facilities study before revisiting the issue.
“This is not a perfect plan by any means because that is an impossibility given the current conditions and parameters,” Dr. Arlotto said. “Our staff has put many hours into examining a host of issues and possibilities, and I believe these prudent steps will provide significant numbers of students with better educational environments when classes resume in August.”
There are approximately 60 students registered for prekindergarten classes at Tyler Heights next year. Parents of those students will be formally notified in the next several days of the move to Georgetown East, a school with a state-rated capacity of 537 and an official current enrollment of 372 students. The school is already scheduled to have a six-room addition built onto it beginning next year.
Prekindergarten students who had enrolled at Tyler Heights for next year will receive bus transportation to Georgetown East. In addition to bus stops throughout the community, a stop at Tyler Heights will be established to aid parents whose children will be transported to Georgetown East.
The start time for classes at Georgetown East will be moved from 9:05 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. to allow additional time for parents who may have children at both schools. The start time for Tyler Heights will remain at 8:45 a.m.
In addition, the following changes will take place for the 2015-2016 school year at Tyler Heights:
- The school’s four fourth-grade classes will be moved from portable classrooms to the annex building, taking over space now occupied by prekindergarten classes and an ESOL classroom.
- The school’s three fifth-grade classes will be moved from portable classrooms into the main building.
- A portable bathroom building will be brought to the school to enable students to have closer access to restrooms and mitigate the need to travel inside the main building for this purpose.
School and school system administrators will continue to examine the school’s needs as enrollment figures are finalized, and make additional changes as necessary.
Dr. Arlotto said there was significant discussion about also moving the kindergarten program to Georgetown East, but that space considerations at Georgetown East prevented the move. The construction of a covered walkway for students who are educated in portable classrooms at Tyler Heights was discussed, but was ruled out because it is cost prohibitive and time-constrained.
In addition, the status of the approximately 20 out-of-area students currently attending Tyler Heights was closely examined by the Division of Student Support Services. All are appropriately placed and will remain at Tyler Heights.