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Clark County school officials weigh solutions to overcrowding

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Clark County school officials weigh solutions to overcrowding

By Jacqui Heinrich. CREATED Sep 3, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- How would you feel about sending your child to school at what used to be a Kmart or a Vons?

Those are just some of the options Clark County School District officials are considering to deal with overcrowding issues plaguing the district.

Clark County schools are expected to hold 320,000 kids next year. That's more than 17 percent over their current capacity. Trustees said if we were to build 23 brand new elementary schools today, they would be full and overcrowded.

The district has no funds to build new schools, so they're looking at some very out-of-the box options.

"We looked at different models that are already out there in other states to see how people are doing it and what kinds of things could be successful," said Jesse Welsh, Academic Manager of Innovative Learning Environments.

The most non-traditional option the district is considering is converting vacant stores into classrooms. For instance, a Kmart that went under or an old Vons grocery could be transformed into classrooms.

There's plenty of available space across the valley, but would it work? Where do you put a playground or a park? What about buses? All are questions school officials are weighing.

Then there's the idea of building a campus made of portables.

"The concern for me is you'd never build a building," said Trustee Carolyn Edwards at Tuesday's school board meeting.

"It doesn't really work. It doesn't make for a campus," agreed Trustee Linda Young.

Also on the table, double sessions. Essentially, schools would have a morning crew of students and an afternoon crew. That would double the capacity of existing schools.

District officials also tossed around the idea of having kids do a couple days of study at home online to free up space.

"We're  hoping that other solutions bubble to the top too," Trustee Patricia Tew told Action News.

For now its all in the brainstorming phase, but parents will need to weigh in later. Those meetings are still not set.

District officials said the problem has to be addressed some way or another, and traditional options like rezoning just won't cut it.

The next chance to put a ballot question forward to raise taxes and generate funds isn't until 2016.

Jacqui Heinrich

Jacqui Heinrich

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Jacqui Heinrich is currently a general assignment reporter for Action News.