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One New Elementary School May Not Be Enough

Hot topics at Tuesday night's school board meeting included overcrowding of schools and goals for upgrading technology.

School boundary lines have been a hot topic as of late - and no one knows this better than the 's (MUSD) Board of Education.

The board met Tuesday night to discuss projected enrollment over the next several years. In light of , board members said it is vital for them to get a realistic projection of future enrollment.

School district demographer Tom Williams addressed the school board during the meeting and gave a Powerpoint presentation showing projected growth. He explained that and elementaries are near capacity.

A new elementary school that is in the works and scheduled to be built should help ease crowding at those two schools, Williams said.

However, he added, Zanker is quickly moving toward having 800 students within the next four years.

"You need a new elementary," he said. "You're supposed to get one, should get one; one may not be enough." 

Williams said the district should be okay in the short term - roughly three to five years. Long term, he said, is a different story. Williams said he anticipated 1,100 new students in the district within in the next 10 years.

"You have a little breathing room," he advised. "Take advantage of that breathing room and figure out what to do."

MUSD Superintendent Cary Matsuoka explained what his next step will be.

"In January, I'm going to synthesize this down to data the City Council can understand, so they are aware of the impact," he said. "I want our Council to understand what they approve, and how it changes our work."

Another hot topic of discussion Tuesday night was the district's Technology Strategic Plan.

Currently, there are just five network staff providing support for 13 sites, 800 employees and more than 2,500 computers. Board members said, that is insufficient staffing to achieve the technology goals set by MUSD.

Board members indicated the district is looking at hiring more staff so that its technology goals can be met. 

Specifically, they said, the district's network needs to be remodeled, including adding wireless network coverage and Google apps for e-mail. Matsuoka said $250,000 would be transferred from the building fund to support the implementation of the strategic plan in technology.

The $250,000 will be taken from funds previously set aside for a deferred maintenance project - a roof - that board members said is not critically needed at this time.

The $250,000 will be used for training of technical services staff, procurement of hardware and software, and getting started with the rebuilding of the district network. 

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