Severe Crowding in Fla. Forces Tough Choices for Teachers, Students

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To understand how big an issue crowding has become at some Palm Beach County schools, visit Hagen Road Elementary in suburban Boynton Beach.

A fourth-grade teacher huddles behind cardboard dividers and cabinets to offer reading instruction in what was the back of the teacher’s lounge. After-school program teachers are in what was a storage closet behind the cafeteria stage. And what had been a science lab shared by all classes is now a regular classroom.

“It’s like dominoes. You take the most needy and the least needy, and the least needy ends up getting the worst space,” principal Richard Hughes said of the choices his school has had to make to accommodate 882 students — 104 percent of its capacity. “It gets to a point where it becomes, ‘Where are you going to go?’"

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