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Wausau School Board mulls solutions to middle school overcrowding

in Wisconsin news

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — District officials in Wausau are considering a range of solutions to address overcrowding at John Muir Middle School, including shifting some west-side students to Horace Mann.

Officials say John Muir was about 100 students over the recommended capacity during the 2016-2017 school year, a number that is expected to double next year. Horace Mann, the city’s east-side middle school, does not have the same problem.

Five possible solutions are being considered by members of the school board.

The first option calls for installing two portable classrooms adjacent to the school. The classrooms could be purchased for $110,000 or leased for $1,350 per month and would have integrated restrooms, according to district documents. In addition to acquisition costs, the district would incur additional setup costs of about $44,000 for connections to sanitary sewer, water and electricity; WiFi connections; and security cameras.

Though the first option is the only one of the five that keeps students at John Muir, there are safety considerations posed by portable classrooms, officials said.

All other options involve moving students from John Muir to Horace Mann or from 5th grade elementary schools to Horace Mann. In those options, officials expect to encounter staffing and transportation issues that would need to be tackled before changes are in place.

Overpopulation in schools has been shown to have an adverse effect on student learning in a number of ways. Educators and administrators say overpopulation can hinder student learning, reducing the quality of instructional planning and lowering morale among students and teachers.

The full power point presentation from Monday’s school board meeting is available online. Additional public discussions will be held before a final decision is made.

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