Overcrowding can’t go unaddressed

Beacon Staff

Jackson-Reed is too crowded and the proposed long-term solutions don’t solve the short-term ramifications.

Enrollment next year is projected to be 2,148 students, and that number will continue to increase, but there is no additional funding for short term expansion. Instead, DCPS is constructing a new high school in Ward 3 to stabilize the growing student body. While this long-term solution is needed, we need immediate action. 

The current budget allots the school more teachers and faculty members for next year, but with Jackson-Reed already bursting at the seams, this will create just as many problems as it solves. 

Already teachers are forced to “float” between rooms throughout the day, hallways and stairwells are a safety hazard, and 35-person classes are the new normal. Next year, these problems will only compound. 

Portable trailers offer a viable short-term solution; they would alleviate hallway congestion and give teachers additional classroom space. Though this solution might seem like a waste of money given that they will only be useful until the new high school reduces overcrowding at Wilson, they’re worth the investment for the wellbeing of our school community in the meantime. 

The current conversation about Jackson-Reed’s overcrowding is oriented around the implications of the new Ward 3 high school. Specifically, the fact that it will alter Jackson-Reed’s feeder pattern and disproportionately impact out-of-boundaries students. These are important conversations that should continue, but not when it causes us to neglect the immediate concerns caused by overcrowding. 

The educational experience of students in the next two years is just as important as the educational experience of students five years from now. Inaction on this issue is a disservice to the Jackson-Reed community. •