South Burlington’s three elementary schools may soon have more students than they can accomodate.
In what district officials describe as an “urgent enrollment situation,” Superintendent David Young noted that the number of younger students coming into the three elementary schools — Chamberlin, Marcotte Central and Orchard — is larger than the number moving on to middle school.
Jerome McKibben of South Carolina-based McKibben Demographic Research told officials Wednesday that while Chamberlin currently has more space than Marcotte or Orchard, the situation is rapidly evolving.
“Orchard, which saw a lot of the building growth particularly in the last decade — now it’s shifting to Central and Chamberlin — again, small cohorts going out early in the decade,” he said.
Young said he is planning to hold a Q&A on the enrollment challenges with the community Monday at 6:00 p.m.
School board members also received a report about a “racial incident at the South Burlington High School,” although the meeting agenda did not provide details. However, two weeks ago, a volleyball match between Burlington and South Burlington high schools was called off after racial and transphobic slurs were directed at Burlington players.
“We did not get this report until we were already in executive session, and executive session did not cover this report, so I don’t think we’re prepared to report on it tonight,” school board chair Bridget Burkhardt said.
The consultant’s report will be back on the agenda at the board’s November 3 meeting. The board also plans to discuss a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school staff, which other districts have already imposed.
“We can kind of learn from those and perhaps put something in that is better than what they’re doing,” Buirkgardt said. “But I think that this is something that we should probably continue talking about at a future board meeting. Obviously, we’re not prepared to take any kind of action on it tonight.”