Overcrowded schools becoming a real problem

Anyone navigating our local roads in the “offseason” can tell that there are simply more cars on the road than before.

New developments we have seen pop up on the local landscape largely means there are more second-home owners than before, but it also translates into more year-round residents. More year-round residents means more students in our schools.

That’s pretty basic, right?

Well, consider that the Indian River School District (IRSD) has grown by an average of 228 students per year over the past 10 years. That’s a 29-percent enrollment increase since the 2005-06 school year. And that’s a significant increase, regardless where you live.

This has not gone unnoticed by officials at IRSD, and they have been holding near-weekly meetings of their IRSD Futures Committee to discuss how to deal with overcrowded schools.

Thus far, the committee has come to envision two additional elementary schools, one middle school, a replacement Howard T. Ennis School, and expansions to both Indian River and Sussex Central high schools.

“You’re about to see your middle and high schools explode, folks,” said Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele. “The elementary schools already have,” added Director of Instruction LouAnn Hudson.

The majority of the District’s growth has come to the north, in particular, in Millsboro and Georgetown. As of now, Georgetown Middle School is at 110 percent capacity and Millsboro Middle is at 98 percent. Sussex Central High School is currently at 1,494 students, with a capacity of 1,500. Those crowded middle schools are about to take the high school over the top.

Be prepared to hear about referendums in the future. Something has to break, or our schools will.