BV weighing options to address overcrowding


Buckeye Valley Superintendent Paul Craft recently outlined a potential plan to bring some fifth graders to Buckeye Valley Middle School next school year in order to mitigate the overcrowding at West Elementary.

Craft discussed the potential course of action Wednesday during the Buckeye Valley Board of Education meeting. He added the plan was selected after a facilities committee complied a list of possible solutions to the ever-growing student population at West.

During his presentation, Craft said West is projected to grow from 588 students to 635 in the next few years and the building is “already feeling full” with at least two additional classrooms needed as soon as possible.

Craft said the facilities committee arrived at several potential courses of action: reconfiguring space at West to add more classrooms, adding portable classrooms to West, or moving preschool to the middle school. Ultimately, the committee chose a plan to provide an option for parents to send fifth graders from both elementary schools to Buckeye Valley Middle School for an alternative education program.

Craft said the program is being provisionally referred to as the “Buckeye Valley Academy,” and he added the district sent out a survey to parents of fourth graders asking if they would consider using the academy.

According to Craft, of those who responded, 58% said they would be interested and 42% responded they would not be interested.

Craft said based on the responses, the plan is estimated to free up two classrooms at West and one at East Elementary. He went on to add that according to the survey, the most attractive features were the STEM/robotics program the fifth graders could get involved in at the middle school, the core knowledge outlined by the academy, and the middle school schedule.

Craft said the areas of concern on the survey were having fifth graders around middle school students at school and high school students on the bus, as well as questions involving recess and playgrounds.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Craft told the board he will bring it a motion to vote on next month that will implement the plan for the 2023-2024 school year.

“The sooner we make this decision, the sooner we can have parent information nights, the sooner we can truly get down to designing what it is that we see the whole program looking like and how it fits in with the specials that are already stressed at the middle school,” Craft said after the presentation. “What staff do we need to have and then staff selection is going to be a big piece.”

Craft said the facilities committee will continue to look at the other three solutions in the near term as needed and will continue to monitor enrollment.

The board will meet next at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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