Middletown superintendent wants $10M expansion to elementary school

A once-hotly protested, $10 million plan to alleviate school overcrowding, which was previously rejected by Middletown’s school board, has been altered to now expand Rosa Parks Elementary, district officials said Monday.

In January, Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. saw the district’s governing board vote 5-0 against his initial plan to fix overcrowding in all elementary schools by expanding Central Academy.

Explore MORE: Middletown boards unanimously rejects plan to expand Central Academy

But Styles presented a new plan to the board expanding instead Rosa Parks Elementary by adding 13 classrooms and increasing its enrollment from 575 students to 800 by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Explore MORE: Middletown Schools leader said he “failed” with his 1st plan to expand Central Academy

The superintendent said community input from a series of public meetings in recent weeks, combined with architectural and engineering studies of all seven of the district’s elementary schools showed “Rosa Parks was determined to be the best site.”

Explore MORE: Middletown school officials hold community meetings on elementary school overcrowding

“This is a positive, $10 million opportunity,” Styles told the board.

He added that even though enrollment projections have Middletown adding more students in the coming year, “this is not only an enrollment problem but also a learning space problem.”

Styles contended the modernization of learning reforms his leadership team began in 2017 will require fewer students per classroom but also expanded learning spaces within other elementaries, whose some of their students would attend Rosa Parks.

The new plan’s presentation was the first of two public readings before the board, and members took no action of the proposal.

Board members will not vote until after the second reading scheduled for their April 29 meeting.

School officials said enrollment is projected to increase in the city schools from 6,632 to 6,850 by 2021.

Stay with the Journal-News for more reporting including school board and teacher reaction.

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