News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

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


 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents Today in History for August 1st Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Parade
Magazine

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

activity