Crowding likely to prompt new look at school lines
Superintendent of Schools Sue Burgess cautioned this week that there are no imminent plans to redraw the lines but that the school board would study the possibility further.
Manteo Elementary School has a population of 733 students, 140 children more than the building was built to house.
“It would require due consideration and careful planning,” Burgess said of any adjustment, adding that the district would not consider changing boundary lines during an academic year.
Nags Head Elementary is full as well, with a student population of 597 and a building capacity of 590.
“Obviously, Nags Head Elementary is not an empty school, either,” Burgess said. “And there are more students than we would like to see at Manteo Elementary School.”
According to the district’s population numbers, Kitty Hawk Elementary has the most room to take on more students, with a population of 437 and a building capacity of 590. First Flight Elementary, which consists primarily of Colington Island students and streets north of Airstrip Road, is under capacity by about 25 students.
If attendance lines were to be re-drawn, Burgess gave this potential scenario:
Roughly between 150 and 175 Kill Devil Hills students who currently attend Nags Head Elementary would be re-assigned to Kitty Hawk Elementary. The potential move would then free up space at Nags Head Elementary so that students from Manteo Elementary could transfer to Nags Head.
Faculty would also have to be moved with the students, Burgess added.
Several years ago, the board of education included in its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) a building addition at Manteo Elementary to accommodate the growing student population. The board removed the project before it submitted its budget this past May because of the size of the district’s debt service.
While Nags Head students are transported over the Washington Baum Bridge to Manteo Middle and High schools, in previous years the board was not willing to move elementary school children across the bridge.
“But that was then and this is now,” the superintendent said.
While Manteo Elementary may be swelling beyond capacity, Burgess said the faculty is dealing well with it.
All special classes — art, music, Spanish, technology/media and physical education — are still being held in the designated classrooms. Some grades may have to eat lunch early or late in the day, but they also have a snack period either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on when they eat lunch.
“It’s tight,” Burgess said. “We either have to reduce the student body or build on.”
If attendance line were to be redrawn, the superintendent says that First Flight Elementary School would not likely be affected.
Kitty Hawk Elementary is well below capacity despite the need for several additional classes in the lower grades in the beginning of this school year, Burgess said.
The state Department of Public Instruction mandates that classes in kindergarten through third have no more than 24 students. Populations in those grades this year reached just above the mandated number by just a few students, requiring the district to create additional classes at that school.
|First Flight Elementary||385 (includes 31 Pre-K)||410|
|Kitty Hawk Elementary||437||590|
|Manteo Elementary||733 (includes 36 Pre-K)||590|
|Nags Head Elementary||597 (includes 36 PreK)||590|
|Cape Hatteras Elementary||296 (includes 18 Pre-K)||315|
|Cape Hatteras Secondary||289||485|
|First Flight Middle||624||700|
|First Flight High||805||810|
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