Site work has begun at Lipscomb Elementary for two portables to be
used by Lipscomb fifth graders in the 2013-2014 academic year. The
1,008-square-foot units were delivered last month, principal Michelle
Contich confirmed, and work recently began on installing stairs and air
Lipscomb’s portables, as well as those installed at other county
schools for 2013-2014, are causing some concern over the continued
growth of county schools.
A projected 840 students are enrolled at Lipscomb for the 2013-2014
school year, the only county elementary school over capacity. The school
has grown by 100 students just since the 2011-2012 school year, when
Lipscomb was at maximum capacity with 750 students.
Lipscomb’s expansion resulted in some “specials,” including guidance,
to be conducted on carts last school year to free up rooms for general
education. The enrollment numbers have some parents worried about
“With the school, at last count, growing to over 843 students (108
percent capacity), the school common areas can no longer accommodate the
students, teachers and parents," Angela Nordstrom, a parent whose
daughter is a rising third grader at Lipscomb, said. "There is not
enough space in the lunchroom. There is not enough space in the gym for
school assemblies. The special rooms are overcrowded.
"The classrooms are growing to the maximum allowed size, and were not
built for that many students. Because of the number of students, the
rotation for specials – music, gym, library, art – has gone to a
configuration whereby the students no longer get gym twice a week,”
Other portables and overcrowding in Williamson County Schools:
- For the 2013-2014 school year, Ravenwood High, Independence High,
Page Middle, Trinity Elementary, Heritage Elementary and Fairview
Elementary will all have portables on campus.
- Portable needs for 2014-2015 have not been determined yet, but
Golden said discussion can begin in the fall, once there is a hard count
- Centennial High, Franklin High, Ravenwood, Brentwood Middle, Spring
Station Middle and Lipscomb Elementary are all projected to be over core
capacity for the coming school year.
When asked about the shortage on rooms for special education and
classes like guidance, WCS Deputy Superintendent Jason Golden said,
“Guidance will continue to visit classrooms as needed for the 2013-2014
school year. All services for students in Special Ed are provided to
students per their IEPs (Individual Education Plans).”
Asked about student/teacher ratios, Golden added, “School
student/teacher ratios are based on state guidelines that differ from
grade to grade, so Lipscomb’s ratio will not be significantly different
from its ratio in past years or the ratio of any other WCS elementary
Several newer residential developments, including Parkside II and
Annandale are among the developments contributing to the overcrowding
issue. Other new residential developments zoned for Lipscomb include
Tapestry in Brentwood, and Camden Commons, The Grove Apartments and
Gateway Village in Franklin.
Parents like Nordstrom are asking why these developments aren’t zoned
for Franklin schools, like Walnut Grove or Hunters Bend, which are both
“Williamson County Schools provides a high quality education to its
students without regard to city limit lines," Golden said. "Many factors
were considered at the last rezoning in late 2010/early 2011, but city
limits were not one of them.
“Growth has occurred in many areas of the county since the last
rezoning decisions were made two and a half years ago, including the
Lipscomb zone,” he added.
For the upcoming school year, open zoning was offered to all Lipscomb
students including rising kindergarteners, providing the option to
attend Edmondson or Crockett elementary schools, but only two students
chose this option.
“It’s apparent that, even with the school being full to the point of
needing portables, parents like Lipscomb," Golden said. "Students in
Williamson County will receive a high quality education regardless of
which school they attend.”
Nordstrom's son started at Lipscomb when she and her family moved to
Brentwood in 2006. When she first researched the county schools,
Lipscomb Elementary’s appeal was its smaller size and sense of community
between parents, teachers and students, she said.
“The recent additions, including the addition of a wing two years ago
and now the portables, put the school's greatest strengths in
jeopardy. Suddenly the community has a ‘separate’ learning group. They
are not part of the daily community of LES. The teachers are not part of
the hallway community; the students are not part of the fifth grade
family. They are separate,” Nordstrom said.
“With the growth in the housing areas in Brentwood and around
Lipscomb Elementary, and the unlikely ability to build another
elementary school in the Lipscomb/Scales/Edmondson zone, the district
should consider adding a second level to the school and fully address
the overcrowding long-term,” Nordstrom added.
As the county has grown over the past 30 years, Golden remarked that schools will occasionally exceed core capacity.
“It has been two and a half years since the board last voted on a
rezoning, and growth has, of course, continued. Each spring, the board
looks at ways to reduce the need for rezoning by opening neighboring
school zones to address overcrowding through parent choice,” he said.
In the meantime, parents continue to express their frustrations over
crowded schools to the school board, and city and commissions.
“The conversation about overcrowding has been ongoing for the past
three years, and there has been no resolution to the problem. Facts have
been presented. Solutions have been offered. Outreach has included
phone calls, emails, Twitter questions and even submitting questions to
the Rumor Mill,” Nordstrom said.
“The frustration for myself and everyone involved is that the only
answer has been to add more students, add more teachers, add another
wing and now add portables. These are Band-Aids. They are not