Live Oak Elementary students board a school bus at the end of a school day. Dougherty County School System Director of Finance and Operations Robert Lloyd said the system is operating at normal occupancy capacities overall in its elementary, middle and high schools, and the system is working on removing portable classrooms as soon as possible.
ALBANY — Dougherty County School System Director of Finance and Operations Robert Lloyd said the system is operating at normal occupancy capacities overall in its elementary, middle and high schools, and the system is working on removing portable classrooms as soon as possible.
Lloyd made the statement at a hastily-called news conference Friday after The Albany Herald on Wednesday obtained the numbers after making separate requests over four weeks for capacities and occupancy rates at all 26 of the system’s schools.
“We are at 88 percent capacity in our elementary schools, 75 percent at our middle schools and 99 percent at our high schools,” Lloyd said.
The news conference was called because school officials contend the numbers The Herald obtained on Wednesday, which showed lower occupancy percentages, were “inaccurate.” New numbers were given out at the news conference.
With the system facing at least a $9 million budget shortfall for FY 2012-13, the DCSS BOE has said all options are on the table, including possible consolidation or closure of some schools.
“We have looked at the numbers and have drawn some conclusions and will present them to the School Board,” Lloyd said.
Under the revised numbers, Magnolia Elementary is running at 46 percent capacity. Magnolia has 463 students enrolled in a building with a capacity of 560 and 450 seats in portable classrooms to boost total capacity to 1,010.
The portables, however, remain largely empty and are on site in anticipation of a major renovation of the school. If those portables are not counted, Magnolia’s capacity rises to 83 percent.
The DCSS currently has 3,500 seats in portable buildings, but the system has no numbers on how many of those seats are actually in use.
Lloyd said the system’s goal is to eventually remove all portable classrooms. Still, the numbers are light at some schools without portables.
Alice Coachman Elementary, with 393 students in a building that has a 620 capacity, is running at 63 percent capacity. Live Oak Elementary, with 490 students in a building with a capacity of 725, is operating at 68 percent.
On the flip side, Lincoln Magnet, with a capacity of 750 (and no portables), has 904 students and is running at 121 percent capacity. Sherwood Acres, with 768 students, is operating at 113 percent.
The middle school numbers are similarly skewed.
Dougherty International, with a building capacity of 1,092 (not including 180 portables), has 528 students and is operating at 42 percent capacity.
Southside Middle, with a capacity of 780 and no portables, has 435 students and is running at 56 percent capacity.
Radium Springs Middle, however, with a capacity of 675 and no portables, is just over capacity at 680 students.
At the high schools, Dougherty, which is currently being renovated, has a building capacity of 1,020 and 600 portable seats, which are not counted toward occupancy. Dougherty has 911 students and is running at 89 percent capacity.
Monroe, with 1,186 students, is operating at 116 percent capacity.
“We have some schools operating at over-capacity,” Lloyd said, “and we are restricting the intake into those schools.”