School administrators expect 600 additional students next school year and say one of the short-term solutions may be to bring in more portable classrooms to overcrowded campuses.
A facilities committee met Wednesday to discuss how to accommodate an anticipated 32% increase in student enrollment during the next 10 years.
Working with a Sacramento-based consulting group, the committee is expected to complete a long-range plan by May to be presented to the Simi Valley Unified school board.
District officials estimate it would take about a year to realign school boundaries to accommodate overcrowding or to reopen one of four schools closed in the 1980s, which would cost about $2 million per campus.
Committee chairman Michael Murphy, who was a school board candidate in last November's election, said the tight timeline means the committee will have little more than a chance to respond to district recommendations on a "gut level."
"In an ideal world, the committee would look at all of the options, all of the issues associated with student population growth, both for next year and nine years after that," Murphy said.
Parent Marybeth Jacobsen, an activist who founded an organization called Simi CARES (Citizens for Accountable, Responsible & Excellent Schools), said she is concerned about the way the district is dealing with the problem.
"To simply throw money at portables when we need so many long-term facilities investments seems like such a poor approach," said Jacobsen, whose child attends Wood Ranch Elementary School. "This problem is not new. If there is a crisis of time, this is of our own making."