A priority for Dublin City School District this year is to finalize a proposed ballot issue to address crowding in the district.
The district has more than 16,300 students enrolled and over the next 10 years, that number is projected to increase to more than 20,000 students, Superintendent Todd Hoadley said.
The district is considering a November ballot issue that would fund necessary facility renovations as well as the construction of new school buildings.
This spring, school board members likely will approve a resolution to request a tax issue be placed on the November ballot, Hoadley said.
"Our facilities are crowded, and we're continuing to grow with students," he said.
Whereas the district's main focus will remain on addressing crowding, other initiatives also are coming online this year, including the opening of the new Emerald campus.
The district's No. 1 priority remains the education of each student, Hoadley said.
The district previously had determined the need for two new elementary schools, a middle school and an addition to one high school.
One elementary school would be on Bright Road, and the other elementary and the middle school would be within Jerome Village.
Either Scioto or Jerome high schools would receive an addition.
Regarding renovation to existing buildings, Hoadley said, Coffman High School remains the district's biggest priority.
"That building needs some severe TLC," he said.
The district is behind the curve on fixing items such as the heating, ventilation and cooling systems, much of which is original to the construction of the building, Hoadley said.
As the district prepares to make a decision on a November ballot issue, the ramifications of crowding can be felt in some school buildings.
Jennifer Schwanke is the principal at Indian Run Elementary School. She said for all three years of her tenure, the school has had to use the stage as alternative class space.
The stage is used in the morning by the fifth-grade broadcasting team, as well as for small groups receiving reading instruction, Schwanke said.
A high-needs special-education group also uses the space.
Crowding also has created other issues at the school.
For example, teachers share one classroom at the same time, Schwanke said, resulting in English language learning groups and small groups of readers sharing a room together.
The building also features combined office and conference-room areas, Schwanke said.
"We have no meeting space for teachers," she said.
The crowded environment means teachers don't have resources readily available, Schwanke said.
The cramped space also causes sensory problems for students.
"Whenever anybody is on top of each other, it's hard to learn," she said.
The new year also brings with it the opening of the Emerald Campus.
The district's new school at 5175 Emerald Parkway will house a career-exploration program for juniors and seniors to attend for part of their day.
Hoadley said he's excited to see the facility open in August and anticipates a strong response from students.