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NEWPORT BEACH : 3 District Schools Are Above Capacity

November 10, 1994|HOLLY J. WAGNER

Some elementary schools in the Newport Harbor area have reached their enrollment capacity.

At the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board meeting Monday, it was learned that three of five elementary schools--Kaiser, Mariners and Newport Heights--have more students than they were designed to handle.

District officials expect enrollment to increase, so they must balance the cost and inconvenience of temporary classrooms against possible long-term options like year-round schools and adding afternoon kindergarten sessions.

At Kaiser School, for example, kindergarten through second-grades are at 114% of capacity.

But even schools with more than 100% enrollment are not yet in a crisis, according to Dale Wooley, the district's executive director of planning and program development.

That is because 100% enrollment is based on available classroom space and most schools have at least some space devoted to special needs like media centers and instructional activity labs. When classrooms reach capacity, those areas are reassigned as new classrooms, Wooley said.

Possible solutions include expanding kindergarten sessions, changing kindergarten attendance boundaries, adding sixth-grade to the seventh- and eighth-grade at Ensign Intermediate School, changing Newport Harbor High School to a grades seven to 12 school and making Ensign an elementary school, or adding temporary classrooms to Kaiser, Mariners and Newport Heights and Ensign.

Board members said they wanted to do more planning and hear more from the community before making any long-term commitments.

Wooley said the board would have to make a decision by January on whether to add portable classrooms for the 1995-96 school year, but other options could buy time.

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