The only elementary school in our district is going through some serious growing pain. The Hollywood Elementary School located on the 49th Avenue (near the Edgewood Road) has outgrown 133% and is projected to grow 161% by the year 2015, according to the county statistics.
The county’s education board is trying to fix this overcrowding problem by reboundarying the school district. Though this solution may sound like a cheap one, at the end, this may cause extreme hardship to many residents living in our district.
Speaking with the neighbors living in the Hollywood community it appeared to me that the idea of redistricting is an extremely unpopular one. When we move to a neighborhood, we look into a few things – safety, quietness, and most importantly, a better school for our children. The same happened to many residents who moved near the school and wanted to have their children going to their neighborhood school.
Redistricting will force many of our area parents to take their children to the PaintBranch school in the south; thus requiring them to spend up to extra 2 hours of their precious time. This extra time will go waste for our children too – we want them spending this time doing homework at home, instead of spending on the road doing nothing.
The best way to address this overcrowding issue is by expanding the school. The school has already added 3 new classrooms, and they also have spaces to grow further. True this may cost the board a little, but looking at the inconveniences our parents and students will be going through, this is the best solution the school board can make.
Critics may complain that an expanded school will bring more traffic, especially when the parents drop their children off or pick them up. But this traffic issues can easily be addressed by encouraging more parents walking their children to the school. The school has recently organized the second ‘Walk to School’ event, which should continue more frequently in future. Such programs reduce congestions in the neighborhood streets and improve our environment by reducing carbons in the air. About 93% of the students live within the walking distance from the school, thus more walking should nearly fix the transpiration issue for good. The key to fixing the issue is thus the awareness among the parents. Perhaps we can introduce an award program for these ‘Walk to School’ parents / families, thus encouraging other parents to walk their children more to the school.