Posted March 10, 2017 12:02 am - Updated March 10, 2017 05:58 am
By EMELIA HITCHNER firstname.lastname@example.org
More relocatables, district struggles with student growth
The St. Johns County School [District] is adding more portable classrooms to accommodate student enrollment. Of the 345 relocatables in use across the district, 288 are leased at an annual cost of $2.6 million.The St. Johns County School is adding more portable classrooms to accommodate student enrollment. Of the 345 relocatables in use across the district, 288 are leased at an annual cost of $2.6 million.
In an effort to meet the demands of the latest surge of student growth, the St. Johns County School District will install 36 new relocatable classrooms at 10 separate school sites.
Nicole Cubbedge, director of facilities planning and growth management, said the district originally planned on opening three new schools for the 2017-18 school year to relieve overcrowding in northern county schools.
But after construction of the K-8 schools in Nocatee and Aberdeen was delayed, the district was forced to improvise.
“The market wasn’t friendly enough for us to be able to afford to build the [K-8 schools] in a year,” Cubbedge said. “We had to give them a two-year time frame.”
Of the 345 relocatables currently in use across the district, 288 are leased at an annual cost of $2.6 million. The remaining units are owned by the district. The new relocatables will serve more than 1,700 students and cost an additional $370,000 per year to lease.
Preparing the make-shift classrooms comes at a price, as well.
According to Christina Langston, chief of community relations, setup costs around $20,000 to $30,000 per unit. Each relocatable is outfitted to replicate the full facilities of a permanent classroom including accessiblity, walkways, and technological infrastructure.
This year the district grew by more than 1,500 students or 5 percent, the highest growth increase in the district’s history. Cubbedge said there’s no indication it will be any different in coming years.
“The trend does not seem to be slowing at the moment,” she said.
Although Elementary School “M” in World Golf Village will open doors come August, 871 permanent student stations won’t quell swelling numbers for long.
Cubbedge said the district hopes to remove relocatables as new schools relieve crowded classrooms, but for now, relocatables are a reality across the county.
“We always hope to remove them,” she said. “… But it doesn’t always work as quickly as we’d like. Sometimes the growth comes in faster and sometimes the funding is not as strong as we’d like to be able to afford it.”
Brought to you by St. Johns Planning and Zoning and County Commission. 70,000 new homes with insufficient impact fees to cover school needs. Although it amazes me that parents would move to a neighborhood with no schools or insufficient schools. I guess they all planned on home-schooling or private schools.
Outrageous lack of planning by the county. Keep letting the builders down zone property to squeeze in more housing and this is the result.