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School district making changes

June 28, 2002

to allow for growth

By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — To educate a mushrooming number of students, the Calexico Unified School District will offer half-day kindergarten classes this next school year at Rockwood and Kennedy Gardens elementary schools.

The district also will create cubicle office space in modular trailers for some teachers at Calexico High School and the city's junior high schools. By getting the teachers out of the classrooms when they aren't teaching a class, several rooms will be freed up for an ever-growing number of teens.

Superintendent Roberto Moreno explained why the district needs to start adopting these changes in a report he wrote for the Calexico board of education.

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Enrollment grew at a record rate during the 2001-02 school year. About 380 kids were added to the rolls.

In 2002-03 the district expects to add 300-450 students.

Moreno wrote in his report, "Such rapid growth puts tremendous burden on existing facilities already burdened with record numbers."

Compounding the problem, some of the new facilities under construction will not be ready for this upcoming school year, according to Scott Buxbaum, assistant to the superintendent.

He said eight permanent classrooms at Rockwood School should be ready for the 2003-2004 school year. Those classrooms should allow the district to offer full-day kindergarten at that school again.

As for the cubicle office plan, Moreno wrote, "In general one-fourth of CHS classrooms and one-sixth of De Anza Junior High and Willie Moreno Junior High School classrooms sit empty of students at any given moment. … If some modulars were converted into shared teacher preparation/office space, students could be assigned to classrooms closer to 100 percent of the time."

Meanwhile, Buxbaum said the district is moving ahead with plans to build two new elementary schools.

One of the schools will be called Cesar Chavez Elementary and will be built north of Cole Road just west of Bowker Road. The district board inspected the plans for the school at Tuesday's meeting.

To augment Chavez, the district sent a letter to the city Planning Department, requesting a 12-13 acre parcel of land from the Schaefer Family Trust, the developers looking to build homes north of Cole Road, just east of the Wal-Mart.

The Schaefers' plan to build more than 400 homes is in the middle of a 30-day public review.

Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa said he received the district's letter. Hinojosa plans to wait until all the comments come in after the 30 days are up, then discuss the district's request with the developers.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or aclaverie@aol.com

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