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Overcrowding continues at schools as students head back to classrooms for fall

By Bob Conrad

New schools built with WC1 dollars have experienced overcrowding enough to have portable classrooms installed. Seven modular classrooms at three different schools have been installed in 2020 and 2021 to meet the need of growing student populations.

School officials confirmed three of the Washoe County School District’s eight new schools — built in recent years with sales tax dollars passed with a voter-approved sales tax increase in 2016 — have needed modular classrooms for growing student populations.

“Of the eight new schools we’ve opened since 2019, three of them have portables as of [this school year],” said Megan Downs, WCSD spokesperson.

Those three are Poulakidas Elementary, Bohach Elementary and Sky Ranch Middle School.

“We are currently constructing another new school, JWood Raw [Elementary School], slated to open in August ‘23, which will eliminate the need for portables at Poulakidas,” Downs said.

Another new elementary school is expected to eliminate the need for portables at Bohach. In the same area, however, Sky Ranch Middle School is expected to experience overcrowding for the next few years.

“WCSD is anticipating reevaluating program assignments and enrollment boundaries in the next three to four years to eliminate the need for portables at Sky Ranch…” Downs added.

She said the portable classrooms are a “tool in [the] toolbox” to be used until longer term solutions are identified. 

Poulakidas has four portables – two installed in the summer of 2020 and two in the summer of 2021. Bohach’s two portables were installed in 2021, and Sky Ranch’s portable was installed in the summer of 2020.

WC1 raised Washoe County’s sales tax to the highest rate of any county in Nevada. The revenue is mandated to be used for new school construction and repairs on existing schools.

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