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Increase in school size topic of meeting

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An informational meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, to discuss a possible permit to increase the student population for Corbett School District.

The “pre-application” meeting will take place in Room 124 of the Multnomah County Land Use Planning Division, 1600 S.E. 190th Ave., Gresham.

The meeting is open to the public, but it is not a hearing, and no decisions will be made, according to Don Keinholz, a county planner. If there is time at the end of the meeting, questions might be taken, he said.

Randy Trani, Corbett superintendent, said the district has no plans to increase its enrollment but for legal reasons needs to update its optimal student capacity numbers in case more students enroll in the district schools. By setting an upper limit of 1,810 on enrollment, the district will not have to continually revisit various zoning issues.

For 2012-13, Corbett likely will house 665 students in its elementary, middle and high school buildings at its campus at 35800 E. Historic Columbia River Highway. An additional 440 to 450 students will be enrolled in Corbett Charter School, he said.

Meanwhile, the district — not the charter school — will open five additional classrooms in the recently renovated Springdale School, 32405 E. Historic Columbia River Highway. Approximately 140 kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students will attend classes in the district’s Corbett Arts Program at Springdale School (CAPS).

“CAPS adds opportunities for resident students while simultaneously saving a historic structure,” Trani said.

Trani noted that ideally, the district would like to keep class sizes at an average of 25 students per classroom. However, he said, given the uncertain nature of state funding, the district must plan for possible higher numbers.

Enrollment has increased in Corbett’s district schools since 2004-05 from 529 resident students to about 650 this year. Corbett schools also are home to about 140 out-of-district transfer students, while most of the students in Corbett Charter are also from outside the district.

Trani noted he was aware some folks in the district are concerned its schools were becoming too large and enrolling more students than they could comfortably absorb.

“Neither I, nor the district have any plans to increase the size of the district,” he said. “In fact, if we could afford it I would prefer that we were smaller.”