So many students, so little room...

So many students, so little room... »Play Video
TRI-CITIES – Growth in the Tri-Cities has put a squeeze on our schools. Every district has felt it.
Pasco Schools continue to feel it the most. And parents are concerned.

"My child is in elementary school, she's only in kindergarten, so if she has to walk into a portable from the building, you know, I'm concerned about safety”, says Noemy Avila, a parent.

The district would like to build new schools to accommodate more kids, but hasn't passed a bond to make it happen.

KEPR learned the Pasco School District is putting in an order for a dozen new portables, plus a modular cafeteria.

This will cost nearly two and a half million dollars.

A large expense when the district would rather spend money on permanent buildings instead.

Pasco isn't the only one forced to spend money on portables.

Kennewick surprised the community when it added the classrooms outside its newest elementary school last year.

The district tells KEPR it's spent nearly one and a million on portables in the last three years, but has no plans to buy more for this fall.

Richland Schools spent less, they told us they spent 360 thousand in the past three years.
But also has no plans to buy more this fall.

Parents would rather avoid the purchases altogether but the district's hands are tied.

"A portable is exactly what it is, it's a portable, there's no foundation it’s not secure!, says Avila.

"Sometimes I think in ways we are our own worst enemies in taking this growth and putting portables in and doing everything we can do, that maybe people didn’t realize how serious the issue was of student growth and how it’s a very serious issue that we have to deal with not only as a school district but as a community", says Assistant Superintendent of Operations, John Morgan.

And unless the community agrees to raise taxes to build or remodel schools portable purchases will continue to be a necessity.

The Pasco District expects to try for a new bond as soon as next year.

In the meantime, it's also considering a change to year-round or multi-track schooling.

This would free up space by limiting the number of students in class at one time.