All in favor…say I!

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67 percent favor modular buildings at WHE
By SEÁN O’DONOGHUE
Managing Editor
HAMLIN –  A comprehensive survey of parents, guardians, grandparents, community members, educators and businesses has found that two in every three would prefer modular buildings as a solution for West Hamlin Elementary’s overcrowding.
The survey was presented to the Lincoln County Board of Education at the Tuesday, September 20, 2011 regular session in Hamlin. A delegation from West Hamlin Elementary (WHE) was present for the meeting.

The matter of overcrowding was first brought before the board during the August 16 regular session in Hamlin. At that time, Lincoln County Superintendent of Schools Patricia Lucas described four possible solutions to the overcrowding problem at West Hamlin Elementary.

•A redistricting of the attendance area.
•Moving prekindergarten students to another facility before returning them to WHE for kindergarten.
•Moving the fifth grade class to Guyan Valley Middle School at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
•Installing portable or modular units at WHE until such time as funding allows for permanent buildings.
Principal Kirk King was also present at the August 16 and briefed the board on the situation at the school. Following the meeting, in comments to The Lincoln Journal, Board President Kerry Matthews expressed confidence that the fifth grade move to GVMS would be workable. “Modulars won’t work because there is no room. I hate that we still have modulars at Duval,” said Matthews. He added that moving the attendance lines would not efficiently take care of the overcrowding because it takes a little out of all grades. “The only solution is moving the fifth grade. If you schedule the fifth and sixth grade to eat lunch and play together and change classes together, then they will have limited contact with the seventh and eighth graders,” said the board president in August.

The survey presented to the board last week included a summary report and all 534 completed questionnaires. In all, 650 forms had been issued. The survey therefore had an 82 percent participation rate. The breakdown of those taking part was as follows:
•312 parents
•65 grandparents
•55 community members
•42 educators
•35 business owners
•25 guardians

According to the survey, 67 percent  (361) of respondents would prefer portable units. The 361 who expressed that preference included 175 parents, 54 community members, 51 grandparents, 34 business owners, 27 educators and 20 guardians.

One in five of the respondents (20 percent, or 106 people) said they were in favor of moving the fifth graders to Guyan Valley Middle School. The 106 included 78 parents, 13 grandparents, 12 educators, two guardians and one community member.

Just nine percent (46) of those taking part opted for moving the prekindergarten classes to another facility and then returning the students to WHE for kindergarten.

Finally, four percent (21) of respondents were in favor of redistricting the attendance areas.
The board has yet to take final action on the matter.

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