Cleveland expects major student jump
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Sep 13, 2012 | 823 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An estimated 5,742 students are expected to be enrolled in Cleveland City Schools for the 2016-17 school year. This would be more than a 500-pupil jump in the next four years.

“There is a strong indication we are growing to the point where we need more space,” said Jeff Elliott, supervisor of curriculum and instruction for city schools.

Data collected at the 10-day mark of school this year has been used to project student growth over the next four years. Totals may be higher than official projections as students have continued to enroll.

Elementary schools will likely collectively exceed their capacity by 583 students within four years. Mayfield Elementary is currently over capacity by 104, with 554 students enrolled for the 2012-13 school year.

Mayfield’s art and music classrooms have both been changed to additional core classrooms. One of their counseling rooms is currently being used as a lower grade’s classroom.

“Mr. Chai [principal] at Arnold does not have any room either. Down the list you go,” Elliott said. “We are using all of our space. That is the bottom line. This is a really big concern for us.”

The remaining elementary schools are between two to 31 students over capacity this school year. A marked difference is seen between numbers this year and those projected for 2013-14.

- Arnold Memorial Elementary is currently over capacity by two students. Expected growth places the school at 35 over next year.

- Blythe-Bower Elementary is nine students over capacity. Projected growth places it at 79 over next year.

- Mayfield Elementary will probably be 144 students over capacity for the 2013-14 school year.

- George R. Stuart Elementary is currently 31 students over capacity, and is expected to be 52 students over next year.

Ernest L. Ross Elementary will show a decrease in numbers to put it from 19 students over capacity to two. Yates Primary will go from being 12 students over capacity this year to 12 students under capacity next year.

“We took [capacity numbers and data from day 10] to develop a trend-analysis formula. The trend-analysis formula is basically showing you how you have increased from this year to this year for eight years,” Elliott said.

“We took that analysis and applied it for year 9, 10, 11, and 12 and used the formula to determine where we would be in four years. This procedure was completed for every school across the board.”

The formula gave Elliott a projected number of 5,742 students in Cleveland schools in four years. Another technique gave Elliott 5,733 as the final number in four years.

“[There are] two ways of looking at the numbers, and we are expecting over 5,700 students,” Elliott said. “We are looking at over 500 students. ... There is a good possibility we are going to need another elementary school.”

Cleveland Middle School is also experiencing growth beyond capacity. The building was made to hold 1,200 students. There are currently 1,204 students enrolled. There was an increase of 12 students from the 10-day mark to the 20-day mark this year.

“The middle school was built with the core capacity of 1,200 students. This means the core academic classrooms: math, language, science, and social studies. If those classes were full, then that would be 1,200 students.”

“If you were to take away the art, music, and additional extracurricular classrooms, then you could fit up to 1,400 students. You would then be without your fine arts programs. ... It is not ideal to exceed 1,200 students.”

The anticipated growth for CMS is 81 more students from 1,204 this year to 1,285 next year. Increase will occur due to the large population of fifth-grade students moving into the only middle school in the system.

“Another challenge: an approach to finding some relief for the middle school, as well,” Elliott said. “Before we go to the middle school, we have elementary issues. You have got to start somewhere.”

Elliott said an additional elementary school would allow the city school system to receive important support services.

Continued growth in the Cleveland area due to industry will affect the student numbers. Newly built Spring Creek Apartments near Mayfield are expected to hold 120 families.