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Addressing overcrowding in some Green Bay schools

The halls of Edison Middle School are packed as kids head home for the day. (WLUK/Dave Duchan)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Earlier this week, the Green Bay Area Public School District released the results from its community survey. The district asked residents various questions about facility needs.

In the survey, 63 percent of people said they believe the district needs to fix overcrowding in schools on the east side. Two of the schools identified as being overcrowded were Edison Middle School and Baird Elementary School.

"There are little over 1,260 that attend here, and that has been a steady growing population for a number of years here,” said Jonathan Wiebel, the principal of Edison Middle School.

Wiebel says the challenge is finding extra space.

"Every kids fits in the building, but it just becomes challenging again in those areas like lunch, and gym, we don't have any classrooms that are unused and sit empty,” said Wiebel.

"The girls go through the girls' bathroom, and the boys through the boys' bathroom to get to the art room,” explained Baird Elementary School principal Michael Sheean.

Sheean took FOX 11 on a tour of the honeycomb-shaped school. He explained the school has cut larger classrooms in half to make multiple rooms.

"One half became a third grade class and one half became a fourth grade class because we added another fourth grade room,” Sheean explained.

At Edison Middle School, the ideal number of students for the space, to keep things running smoothly, is 1,137 students. Right now, the current attendance is 1,260 students.

At Baird, the ideal number is 266, but right now, 452 kids attend the school.

"We don't have collaborative work space that are larger area would afford," said Sheean.

Over the past year the district has been looking at ways it can address overcrowding in those schools. In early November, it reached out to the community in the form of a survey asking for input.

Seventy-fice percent of respondents said they would support a new K-8 school on the east side. And 71 percent said it would support both a new K-5 and a new 6-8 school on the east side.

On Monday, the school board will hear a recommendation from its community task force on how the district should move forward to address overcrowding.

However, before the district comes up with a final option, the school board would have to approve the option and depending on the option, there could be a possible referendum question this April.

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