Changes address overcrowding in Cumberland Valley schools

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The school population has been skyrocketing in Cumberland County, so big changes are coming to some districts.

Cumberland Valley School District is getting ready to build a new elementary and middle school because that’s where they’re seeing serious growth and overcrowding. In the meantime, they’re working toward a shift in teachers.

Rick Hennessey’s sixth-grade geography class is just about the only room in Eagle View Middle School with an empty seat.

“The big difference is trying to get around to all the kids and making sure you can work with them,” Hennessey said.

In his 17 years, enrollment has gone way up in Cumberland Valley schools. In just the past seven years, 1,500 more kids came to the district.

“All of the families that are moving in are young families, primarily in the elementary grades. Our largest four-year sequence is fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh grade,” Superintendent Dr. Withum said.

His projections are that even more students are coming.

“So now what we’re doing is we’re transferring positions from the high school down to the middle school,” Withum said.

Seven teacher positions will transition to the middle school. High school teachers will take on an extra class.

“Rather than cut a variety of programs we have to offer, we are taking one period away in terms of a study hall for the teachers,” Withum said, “Letting them do, for one more period, what they truly do best.”

Mechanicsburg Area School District is going through a feasibility study to address the same problem: overcrowding in the elementary and middle schools and high projected growth.

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