Bladensburg, Md. — Leaders at Prince George’s County Public Schools are trying to address a problem in which 25 percent of their schools are overstuffed and another 21 percent are close to being over capacity as well.
At 52 campuses, Prince George’s County has the third highest number of schools that exceed state-rated capacity limits in the state of Maryland.
On Thursday, parents from close to a dozen elementary and middle schools came together at Bladensburg Middle/High School to find out how enrollment balancing efforts could affect their children and lives. They were also asked to give input for a plan for addressing overcrowding that should be finalized in January.
Of particular concern were schools in the northern end of Prince George’s County that are seeing more than 200 students more than capacity like Buck Lodge Middle School and Beltsville Academy. Meanwhile some schools on the southern end of the county like Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School have more than 200 open seats.
The school district has come up with a tentative plan to rearrange which elementary schools feed into middle schools. Those changes are expected to begin in the falloff 2017.
Another solution is to push some 6th graders into middle schools to free up space at elementary schools. According to the school district more than half of all 6th graders have already been moved to a middle school.
Lastly, the school district could look into reacquiring schools it sold or gave to the county in the 1980’s because of declining enrollment.
Student population in Prince George’s County is down compared to what it was 10 years but is expected to grow by more than 7,800 students over the next decade.
For more information about the enrollment balancing plan visit the Prince George’s County Public Schools website.