Portable classrooms planned for Small School in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — In an effort to combat ballooning enrollment, the School Board on Monday gave the OK to solicit bids for two modular classrooms for Small Elementary School.

Projections indicate Small will have about 60 incoming kindergarten students next year, pushing the school’s capacity to the limit. Principal Bonnie Hicks said in May that every classroom was packed full, including a science lab that had been converted to make space for a student population already too large.

School Board guidelines set the maximum class size at 20 students. Small had 15 classes last year, six of which exceeded the 20-student limit.

Hicks and Superintendent Suzanne Godin saw only two options: more classrooms or fewer students.

Officials considered converting the art room to classroom space, moving some fourth-graders to Brown or Kaler elementary schools, moving 20 kindergarteners to Kaler or moving all the fifth-graders to Mahoney Middle School.

Residents, however, came out in force at a May meeting to support the more-costly portables solution. Most said they didn’t want children to have to leave their community.

The board hopes to pick the winning bid at its July 13 meeting. The cost of the project will vary depending on whether the board chooses to buy or rent and whether the structures are new or used.

Rafe Forland, School Department director of finance, said preliminary estimates put the price tag between $14,000 per year for a four-year rental or $65,000 to buy the modulars outright.

Godin said if everything goes according to plan, the portable classrooms will be in place by mid-August, in time for the next school year.

In other business, the board awarded a nearly $51,000 contract to Maine Tennis & Track of Gray to rennovate the track at South Portland High School.

Board member Richard Matthews said work should begin soon, because the track must be ready for use by July 22.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow Mario on Twitter: @riocarmine.

Sidebar Elements

Germani heads to South Portland central office

SOUTH PORTLAND — The School Board on Monday approved a shuffling of school administrators.

Mahoney Middle School Principal Kathyrn Germani will become interim assistant superintendent when the current No 2. in the central office, Steven Bailey, leaves South Portland to become superintendent of schools in Damariscotta.

Mahoney’s assistant principal, Carrie Stilphen, will take over for Germani as acting principal for one year.

The board also appointed Stephen Chabot as assistant principal at Memorial Middle School and Laurence Clifford as boys soccer coach for seventh-graders at Mahoney.

— Mario Moretto