Eleven elementary schools in the Clark County (Nev.) School District will convert to a year-round calendar in the 2015-16 school year to ease crowding. But officials say the district's dependence on year-round schedules won't have to continue much longer. Recently approved state legislation will enable the school system to address the space crunch by building new campuses.
The district says that the 11 schools chosen for year-round schedules will join 13 other elementary campuses that have converted to a year-round calendar over the last two years.
The district, with a student enrollment of about 320,000, needs to create additional classroom space until it can construct new facilities to ease its space shortage. The schools converting to a year-round schedule were chosen from a list of 61 campuses on a "watch list." Those are schools that met one or more of these criteria: enrollment growth of 5 percent or more; student numbers that exceed 125 percent of design capacity; or campuses using eight or more portable classrooms to handle student enrollment.
"The Clark County School District continues to grow in student population, having gained more than 8,000 students during the past two years," Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky says in a news release. "Converting schools to a year-round calendar is not a decision that is made lightly, but it serves as a solution to our overcrowded schools, which pose potential safety issues and create congestion in the classrooms."
The district has been unable to build the additional classroom space it needs since voters rejected a tax proposal in 2012 that would have provided $720 million for construction projects.
Recently approved state legislation has cleared the way for Clark County to build additional campuses. District officials told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that the law will clear the way for construction of 12 schools--seven that would be ready to open in the fall of 2017, and five that would open in 2018.
"We will now have funds to build new schools and will hopefully be able to curtail future year-round calendar conversions," says Skorkowsky.