Downtown elementary schools overcrowded

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board will hold a public meeting at Glebe Collegiate Institute Monday night to discuss overcrowding in several downtown elementary schools.

The board says Elgin Street Public School in Centretown, First Avenue Public School in the Glebe and Hopewell Avenue Public School in Old Ottawa South are all currently over capacity.

The overcrowding has built up gradually but has become more noticeable in the past few years, said Jennifer McKenzie, the school board trustee for Zone 10.

“For parents, the concern has been growing,” she said.

Six proposals have been made to find a short-term fix for the problem before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Because French immersion programs are facing the highest enrolment, leaving many English schools in the area under capacity, one proposal suggests moving First Avenue’s Grade 6 French-immersion students to classrooms in Glashan Public School in Centretown.

The problem is most obvious at First Avenue, where more than 550 students squeeze into classrooms that were designed to hold only 400 students.

The school says it cannot handle the 77 junior kindergarten students expected next year.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and public input will be considered until Jan. 24. The board will then recommend one proposal for trustees to vote on.