146 Portable Classrooms In Use In TISD - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/20/04-Tyler

146 Portable Classrooms In Use In TISD

  Another school year has arrived and nothing has changed for Tyler Elementary Schools in one particular area.  School officials say the schools are overcrowded; with many students forced to have class outside in portable buildings. It's a problem TISD will address in the proposed bond.
  According to numbers given to the school district by the Staubach Company, at the end of the last school year: Bell Elementary was more than 137 percent capacity. Bonner Elementary was at 157.2 percent and Austin was at 128.9 percent capacity.  The worst in the district, Douglas elementary with 175 percent capacity. The school has 22 portable buildings on its campus.
  "Fifty percent of our students are in portables," said Douglas Elementary Principal Beverly Collins. Principal Collins said almost 300 students at her school are taught inside portable classrooms. "We have so many children in portables. They don't have access to water, they don't have access to restrooms, so they have to share facilities."
  Among the the rows and rows of portables, sits Mrs. Ogden's fifth grade class.  Mrs. Ogden says bathroom and water breaks must be scheduled for students, taking away as many as 30 minutes of learning time.
  "It's a lot of time taken away," said Ogden. "It's a lot of distraction, having to refocus the kids on the lesson you are doing at the time."
  From August to May, the teacher said her students must endure changing weather conditions outside as well as inside the classroom.  "There's no in between, you're either really cold or you're really hot."
  Students said making the trek from portables to the main building for lunch, P.E. and bathroom breaks can be a difficult task.
  "When it's raining," said fifth grade student Alberto Diego, "we got to go and there's some puddles and we all get wet, our pants and our shoes."
"Whenever it's cold and it's raining sometimes you can get sick," said student Dakota Stacks.
  There are 146 total portables in use, in Tyler ISD,  that's 156 thousand square feet, or the equivalent of almost 3 football fields. Tyler ISD officials told KLTV that same square footage would equal 2 brand new schools.
  "I would change that all the schools be in the main building," said fifth-grader Dekendra Nelson, "and not have to come to the portables and go all the way to the main building."
Douglas Elementary is one of the six elementary schools that would be replaced if phase one of the district's proposed bond passes.
  Bell, Ramey, Bonner, Austin and Peete Elementary Schools would also be replaced. The vote is November 2.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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