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Letter to the Editor: Now is time to add more capacity in schools

Editor,

As the executive chair of Citizens for Ridgefield Schools, I have been engaged in the discussion surrounding the overcrowding crisis happening in our schools for a while now. Despite numerous anti-bond letters and social media comments — authored by a small group of two to three individuals, some of whom are not even residents of our district — the vast majority of Ridgefield understands the critical issue of our overcrowded schools with stark clarity. Teachers, administrators and city leaders agree that propositions 10 and 11 are crucial to address the overcrowding in our schools and accommodate our rapidly growing student population.


A recent letter to the editor downplayed our situation by stating we are “only” overcrowded by 565 students. Consider the gravity of that number: 1/3 of our students attend classes in portables today. The district utilizes 26 portables in total, and View Ridge Middle School has already exhausted its capacity for more. With the middle school population increasing by 51 students annually, we are faced with the question of where to accommodate these additional students — effectively two more classrooms each year.


Ridgefield’s population has doubled in the past decade and shows no signs of slowing. We are the fastest-growing city in the county. The anticipated construction of attractions such as Costco, Clark College, YMCA and the state’s first In-N-Out Burger will only draw more families. Ridgefield’s growth trajectory, and consequently our student population, will continue to rise.


Concerns over “too much space” are laughable. When the new elementary school opens, there will be 500 students in each school, leaving room for about 50 to 150 additional new students per school to accommodate growth. The proposed new middle school would mean both middle schools would have about 600 students each, also with appropriate room to grow.


Additionally, the expansions for the high school would allow for an extra 350 students, not to mention a much-needed modernization of our technical education facilities.


Our elementary schools are currently overcrowded.

Our middle school is currently overcrowded.

Our high school is currently overcrowded.


The recent letter to the editor asks, “At what point does it make sense to build more capacity?” The answer is NOW. I urge you to consider a “yes” vote on propositions 10 and 11 to meet these pressing needs.


Zach Smith

Executive Chair, Citizens for Ridgefield Schools

The Reflector, 3/11/24



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