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Most schools across Washoe County are hitting or exceeding capacity despite serious efforts like re-purposing space (check out the ad-hoc computer lab on the left), adding lunch periods, and co-teaching so that class sizes can be bigger. Pretty soon, there will be even more kids to serve as Tesla and other companies flock to Northern Nevada .On top of that, state lawmakers just approved more than a billion dollars in tax hikes, mostly for education. But get this--none of that money will cover capital needs. For all of these reasons, KUNR has been reaching out to teachers, parents, administrators, lawmakers, and community members for a series of in-depth stories on the overcrowding crisis in Washoe County schools.

Board Delays Year-Round Switch For Packed Schools

Julia Ritchey

  Four severely overcrowded Washoe County elementary schools have been spared from going to a year-round calendar next school year. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

The Washoe County School Board voted unanimously to keep Brown, Double Diamond, Maxwell and Sepulveda on a nine-month calendar for the 2016/17 school year.

The move gives school officials one more year to come up with a multi-track calendar that will be adopted by many schools in the district facing exploding student growth.

All four of these elementary schools are expected to exceed 120% of their base enrollment by next fall.

Superintendent Traci Davis says she knows parents were concerned about year-round and they don't take the decision lightly.

"We need everyone to know we were extremely thoughtful from a variety of vantage points to come up with what we thought was the best answer for our kids, not just for next year but as we move forward in the community."

To deal with the additional students, the schools have drafted overcrowding plans that include measures such as staggering start times, adding more portable classrooms and utilizing co-teaching to increase classroom size.

With no money to build new schools or expand existing ones, schools officials say putting schools in session all year will allow them to expand enrollment by 25 percent.

For more on this issue, check out Bursting At the Seams, our week-long look at overcrowding in Washoe schools. 

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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