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Crowding In Livermore Schools

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 Image: Created on Canvaa

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Many showed up to the first day of school this year expecting typical school features: teachers, homework, and friends. But a poll of 40 students showed that half of the people polled didn’t expect the school to feel so crowded, as compared to previous years. Classes are filled to the brim, it’s hard to walk through the hallways without getting bumped into, and lunch lines can often take up the whole lunch time.

Poll of 40 students. Image: Created on Canva.

The class size that the district and the Livermore Education Association teachers’ union agreed upon was thirty-three students per class with certain exceptions for classes that usually have more students, such as Physical Education.

When classes must be over-enrolled, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District teachers are contractually guaranteed a stipend of $10 per student per day for every student over the cap. 

According to LVJUSD Deputy Superintendent Chris Van Schaack, often the only thing preventing classes of 40 or more students is the fact that it would be cost-prohibitive to compensate teachers for teaching over the class size limit.

When asked if the city of Livermore was seeing a huge population increase that could account for the increase in the student population, Donna Pontau, the Senior Management Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, explained that what might be seen as a huge increase in population is often exaggerated. “I’m not certain that we are [experiencing a population increase],” she said, “I think one thing that people have to realize about what they may see as growth and housing, is that there’s a process for approving housing.”

When asked if the city was aware of the overcrowding in the schools, Pontau responded, “People have to remember the school district is not the city. But that being said, they don’t operate in a vacuum, what one does affects the other.”

Pontau further explained, “I know that with the big downtown development, people kept saying, “What about the school?” But the school district was already on record saying that if we build housing in the Downtown area, there wouldn’t be a need for the third school. The schools that were already in place could absorb it.”

The analysis of the September 2017 District Enrollment and Staffing report found that Livermore is seeing large increases in enrollment at the high school level, but also said this growth “could result in slight decreases in student enrollment in high school for the next several years.” The analysis concluded that the largest increases in enrollment were at Livermore High School and Christensen Middle School with a total of 246 new students all together. The number may seem small, but Livermore High School already houses 1,817 students.

Image: Delphi Forums

When asked if Livermore was seeing a large increase in enrollment because of recent housing development, Van Schaack, responded, “We have not seen substantial student increase as a result of the housing, which I know feels counter intuitive. But I would just point out that 20 years ago the enrollment was 1,319, and look at housing then.”

He explained that if growth presented the need for more space than is currently available,  the school district could expand current schools to hold more students. “We don’t really form an opinion of whether it’s good or bad for the town; we try and form an opinion of whether we can accommodate the growth within our schools,” he said.

Overall, the schools can accommodate growth, despite it not feeling like they can to some. Livermore may have a lot of students, but according to the district, we are not at capacity. Ultimately, it is up to the school district to determine the schools’ capacities.

It may be that one day the growth of the city will necessitate the construction of a third high school in Livermore, but until then, all students can do is make the best of a crowded situation.

About the Writer
Zoey Bost, Arts and Entertainment Section Editor
Zoey Lane Bost was born in 2002 on the southside of Chicago, IL  to John and Shawnda Bost.  She has a younger sister, Journey, and younger brother, Sam.  When she was 4 years old, Zoey moved to Livermore, a northern California city.  Zoey attended Altamont Creek Elementary from kindergarten to 5th grade.  She completed her...
1 Comment

One Response to “Crowding In Livermore Schools”

  1. Jacob Roddewig on March 6th, 2018 9:00 pm

    The halls, classes, and lunch lines are definitely are pretty packed, although there are still classes that have very few people in them. I have an English class with 10-12 people in it this trimester for example. I don’t think the increase in students is. a big deal yet. Also, one thing that will help with this if it ever happens to become a major problem is the fact that solar panels have recently been installed. With these now in place, if it ever comes time that it is an issue, LHS might have some reasonable money saved to be able to add more classrooms to the campus. One rumor I’ve heard about is that the school wants to add a second story to both the 300 and 400 buildings. With that extra money eventually saved up, this might be possible and since it seems that it’s already been being speculated upon, this would probably push it into actually being constructed soon.

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