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Fri, Feb. 28

HUSD can't wait to get additional<BR>portables on elementary campuses

Coyote Springs works to find classrooms for more students from north area of town

PRESCOTT VALLEY — While enrollment continues to grow within the Humboldt Unified School District, growth is not affecting every campus equally.

Tuesday, the HUSD governing board listened to administrators report on delays in getting portable classrooms on two campuses for the start of school.

The portable buildings, housing two classrooms each, will go to Coyote Springs Elementary School, which already has one portable with two additional classrooms, and Mountain View Elementary.

Lake Valley Elementary also has a portable building with two classrooms.

Superintendent Ron Maughan said the district has been trying to get the portables on campus as quickly as possible with three issues.

First is the issue of permanence. Under the Students First law, the district has to count as square footage any permanent structures it owns.

That means that if the district owns the portable classrooms, they prevent the district from getting new schools promptly.

Second, the district has to lease them. But going through some businesses adds thousands of dollars to the price because of the middlemen, Maughan said.

Board Member Craig Sorensen, who works with some of these modular building companies in his business, is trying to help the district buy more directly and save.

Third, the district needs to follow local codes and inspection procedures to get the buildings on site.

Maughan said that means the schools may not see the buildings until the first part of September.

Mountain View Elementary Principal Jeannine Young said she's not concerned about the arrival date on the classrooms.

She expects her school's enrollment to stay pretty even this year, around the 700-student mark. So the new classrooms may allow her to take overflow students in certain grade levels from other campuses.

"We don't need it," she said. "Having them a little later is not going to affect my campus."

Marcia Gatti-Smith, the new principal at Coyote Springs Elementary, however, is very concerned about getting the two classrooms on her campus as quickly as possible.

She already has two classes that need the portable classrooms.

And if the growth in the northern section of Prescott Valley keeps increasing, Coyote Springs' demand for classrooms will continue to increase rapidly until the district receives approval from the School Facilities Board to build another district elementary school.

In the meantime, Gatti-Smith is making final plans for temporary placement of two classes until the portable building arrives.

She declined to say what classes or grades will have alternate arrangements in the first few weeks of school. She wanted to make sure the parents found out first, with notices going out by week's end.

"I'm considering all segments of our program," she said.

"It's a tough decision. I'm trying to identify opportunities that allow the least number of students to be the least disturbed."

Growth also is affecting the high school. New Principal Cynthia Verdugo Wood is working through her own orientation, adjustments for new staff members, and the booming enrollment in the shadow of a new high school two years away.

Wood said her numbers have topped 1,400 students at this point, with the district looking at 1,500 students as the most that Bradshaw Mountain High School can comfortably serve.

The high school's enrollment numbers will continue to change for the next month, as school officials register new students and determine which students have moved out of the district.

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