Overcrowding a problem at Clay County middle school

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Parents of students at a Clay County middle school are voicing concerns about overcrowding, a week into the school year.

One mother of a student at Oakleaf Junior High School said one of her son's classes can barely be taught because there are so many students in it.

"It's very frustrating," said the mother, who didn't want to be identified. "They have had all summer to do these schedules and get kids where they need to be. Now we are a week into school."

The mother said that when her son went to orientation two weeks ago, he was given a schedule with nine classes, but the school only has six periods. She said he wasn't alone.

"When he went for orientation, his schedule was all wrong," she said. "He approached guidance. He was told to fill out a form for a schedule correction. When we put that form in the box, it was like we put it in there with the rest of the school."

The school, which has only been around for a few years, already has to use portables to have enough space for students. The school district said this year it had about 70 students more than expected enroll at the school, and they've worked quickly to come up with a solution to fix the overcrowding issue.

The school district said things like this happen at the beginning of the school year, especially in areas growing so quickly like Oakleaf.

District staff has been at the school this week working to make sure that everyone's schedule that needs to be corrected is fixed.

Diane Kornegay, assistant superintendent for instruction, said that right now there are substitute teachers at the school to make sure classes aren't overcrowded, and the school will soon have additional full-time teachers in place to keep it in compliance with the state's class-size mandate.

"We in Clay County are committed to meeting class size and always working towards being in compliance with that," Kornegay said.

The school district said they put out a message to parents at the end of last week letting them know about the issue. They said much of the feedback they received was positive, with parents saying they'll be patient while the district finds a solution.