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District Plans Busing This Fall to Ease Crowded Classrooms


Southern Glendale junior high students will be bused this fall to a relatively uncrowded school in the northern part of the district, marking the first time that north Glendale schools will be directly affected by solutions to the district's school-crowding problem.

The temporary busing of about 100 Toll Junior High School students to Rosemont Junior High, a school that is not yet greatly overcrowded or ethnically diverse, was among the temporary measures to counter crowding presented in a Board of Education report this week.

This fall will mark the first time junior high students will be bused. In addition, more than 240 elementary school students will be transported to less crowded schools and about 39 additional portable classrooms are to be installed.

The measures are designed to cope with the district's rapidly rising enrollment until a year-round schedule of classes can be implemented at the most crowded schools. The year-round schedule is set to begin in 1991.

About 1,400 new students--mostly Armenian, Korean and Latino immigrants--are expected to enroll in the district for the 1990-91 school year.

Student enrollment has jumped 22% since 1985, mostly in southern Glendale's elementary schools. The student population, now about 24,400, may reach 28,300 by 1992, officials said.

The influx prompted Board of Education members last month to endorse year-round education as a long-term solution.

The plan presented Tuesday offers one-year remedies for crowding at each of Glendale's 26 schools until the year-round schedules begin. It recommends adding portable classrooms at some campuses, limiting enrollment and busing new students from Toll and other schools. It also recommends minor remodeling at several campuses to create more classroom space.

The district already buses about 150 elementary school students from Marshall and Mann elementaries to less crowded schools. And nearly 90 portable classrooms are already being used at those and other campuses.

Ethnic minorities--including those from the Middle East and Asians and Latinos--make up about 73% of Toll's enrollment of 1,700 students, according to district studies. Minorities make up only 26% of Rosemont's 840 students.

At Toll, the 1,700 students occupy a campus built for 1,600. Rosemont's campus has room for about 1,300, district figures indicate.

"We could get a wide range of youngsters," Rosemont Principal Lois Neil said of the pupils to be bused in. "But whatever population we receive, we'll be prepared to deal with the students and their needs."

Although the school-by-school crowding-relief plan generally offers one-year remedies, students bused from Toll will attend Rosemont for two years, until they reach the ninth grade, Neil said. They then will attend Hoover High School, where 26 additional classrooms to accommodate ninth-graders are scheduled to be completed in 1992.

About 39 portable classrooms will be added in the fall at Toll, Marshall and 11 other schools, virtually all of which are in southern Glendale, according to the plan. About 29 of those temporary classrooms will be removed from Marshall and Muir elementary schools by November, when construction of new classrooms should be completed.

Marshall students will continue to be bused even after the classrooms are built, however, because school officials prefer to remove the current portable classrooms to make room for playground space, district officials said.

"Schools have had restricted playground space, and to restrict it any more by putting more kids on the space isn't the answer," said David Kanthak, the district's assistant superintendent of business services.

But Kanthak and others acknowledged that if year-round calendars and other proposed remedies don't relieve the problem, busing and the use of portable classrooms will continue after 1991.

"We feel this short-term plan will get us through next year. I think the projections are pretty realistic," said Joanne Merrick, director of elementary education for the district. "But we can't predict if there's some huge influx."

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