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Mill Creek Elementary Dealing With Circumstances of Overcrowding

Posted: Nov 8, 2012 7:15 PM by Danny Spewak
Updated: Nov 8, 2012 9:59 PM

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COLUMBIA - The Parent-Teacher Association for Mill Creek Elementary and officials from Columbia Public Schools have discussed moving Mill Creek fifth-graders to Gentry Middle School to combat overcrowding, according to a November newsletter.

The letter, signed by PTA President Kathleen Kochendorfer, explains that overcrowding could plague Mill Creek until the district builds a new elementary school in Southwest Columbia. The district does not plan to complete the construction of that school until Fall 2016, and Kochendorfer's newsletter outlines several options to keep enrollment totals under control.

In addition to potentially moving fifth-graders to Gentry, the newsletter also offers the following possibilities:

--Adjusting boundaries to send some children to other elementary schools

--Offering half-day Kindergarten classes

--Build the new school earlier than 2016

--Freezing admissions to Mill Creek for newly constructed homes within the boundaries

Kochendorfer said PTA officers have met with Superintendent Chris Belcher to discuss the issues, which Mill Creek parents are well aware of. Amy Cook falls on both sides of the potential Mill Creek/Gentry merger-- she has a fifth-grade daughter at Mill Creek and a sixth-grade son at Gentry.

"He talks about how crowded it is, and they're moving eighth grade to Gentry, so I just don't see how they could fit fifth-graders over there also," Cook said. "[But] I've been real happy with the size of the classrooms at Mill Creek so far."

That's not to say it will necessarily stay this way, however.

"My father's a teacher out in the state of California, and they have upwards of 40 to 50 kids in classrooms," Cook said. "I don't want Columbia to ever get to that."

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