News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 22, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Aug. 22, 2012

Overcrowding an Otter Creek issue

While the teachers and staff at Otter Creek Middle School did their best to provide a happy, welcoming first day of school for new and returning students, it proved to be quite a challenge as they faced extremely overcrowded conditions.

Last week, Otter Creek welcomed approximately 300 new students and teachers from the former Chauncey Rose Middle School. This represents an almost 40 percent increase from the previous year’s enrollment. Some classrooms currently have more than 42 students in them. Students are crowded around tables and even share the teacher’s desk because there is not adequate space for student desks. According to the formula set by the Indiana State Department of Homeland Security for fire safety, these high enrollments exceed maximum occupancy levels and pose possible code violations.

Moreover, there are not enough lockers for the sixth-graders in their own hallway, so many of them must walk through a very crowded hallway of older students to collect their books. To top it off, the building’s worn-out air-conditioning system was not working properly last week, adding to the discomfort of many people in the building.

To be very clear, the incredibly dedicated staff at Otter Creek did everything possible to make sure the children felt welcomed and secure. It was a top priority, and has been so since last school year. No, this inexcusable classroom situation falls squarely on Superintendent Tanoos and the school board, who failed to implement a plan for the smooth transition of Chauncey Rose students to their new school homes.

Mr. Tanoos and the school board had nearly a year and a half to come up with such a plan and to consider a number of possibilities that would have ensured a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students and staff at Otter Creek. But instead, our educational leaders sat and waited. And now the students lose.

With a 40 percent increase in enrollments at Otter Creek, where are the additional classrooms and teachers? Temporary classrooms could have been placed on school grounds until a more permanent solution to the physical space constraint was reached. But is Otter Creek’s building even in the school corporation’s plans for upgrade and expansion?

Building improvements would obviously involve a significant commitment of funds; as the school board voted to close Chauncey Rose in order to avoid costly building upgrades, surely they recognized that such action might require a significant investment in physical plant improvement elsewhere.

Another option Mr. Tanoos and the school board could have considered was redistricting — a difficult subject to be sure, but one that would have evened out the enrollment discrepancies between Sarah Scott, Woodrow Wilson and Otter Creek. Would such classroom overcrowding be tolerated at Honey Creek school? Would any of the school board members want their children or grandchildren to be in, say, a reading class of 44 students?

My children graduated from Otter Creek after three happy, successful years there. My children flourished at that school in large part because of the secure and supportive atmosphere the teachers and staff provided. I am confident the teachers and staff will continue to do their best to provide the same learning environment my children had. It’s just too bad that our educational leaders downtown won’t do the same.

— Dorothy Chambers

Terre Haute


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010