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Indian River School Dist. turns to portable classrooms to handle overcrowding

Delaware Public Media

The Indian River School District continues to struggle with classroom overcrowding after two failed referendums this year.


Indian River’s capital referendum was rejected in February and again in May. It sought to fund additional school buildings to handle a growing student population.  

Superintendent Mark Steele says the district will now lease portable classrooms to handle the over 11,000 students expected this coming school year.


“We will put in four at Sussex Central (High School) - so it will be eight-classrooms worth and we’ll put one at North Georgetown (Elementary School)," said Steele.

But Steele argues this solution is only a band-aid, “When you do the portables - remember - you’re not widening the hallways, you’re not making your cafeterias bigger, you’re not making your gyms any bigger or your auditorium. So you still have the overcrowding in all your common areas and trailers do absolutely nothing to alleviate that.”

Steele notes another portable classroom was planned for Selbyville Middle School, but the principal there believes library space can be used to add two classrooms.


Steele adds leasing the portables still costs taxpayers money through the district’s operating budget - and Indian River estimates it will use 20-22 over the next five years.


Steele says the leases are for five-years and Indian River will spend $700,000 to $800,000 per year on the trailers. 

He adds the cost comes right off the top of the operating budget, ahead of everything, even teacher salaries.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.
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