Waddell Language Academy parents concerned new school will be overcrowded

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Waddell Language Academy parents are concerned plans for the new school are not adequate for the student population that goes from kindergarten to 8th grade.

More than 1,300 students attend Waddell and the same amount of students are expected when the new school opens.

The current school has about 70 classrooms and the new school is expected to have 63 classrooms.

"It is a frustrating experience, cause I feel like we are working hard into the details," parent Adrianne Johnson said.

Johnson is also concerned about the size of the new school's cafeteria. 

"The cafeteria capacity is about one third less than what we have," Johnson said.

The size of the bus lot at the new school is also a concern.

"We have about 30 buses, and I think the bus parking lot is budgeted for 22. We have been told buses can park around the rim of the parking lot," parent Jason Carey said.

The new school is part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District's $922 million bond referendum. Voters decide on it November 7th.

Many wonder why would CMS would open a new school that could be overcrowded the first day it opens.

"It doesn't make me feel good as a taxpayer, knowing the way my tax money is going to be managed," Carey said.

The School Leadership Team met with CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox and other school officials on Monday to talk about their concerns.

Wilcox says some valid points did come up and says leaders will go back to the drawing board. CMS leaders also say parents must know the new school will not have the same space the current school has.

"We are in a facility that is built to be a high school facility for high school bodies, and high school students and what we are talking about is a K8 facility." CMS Assistant Superintendent for Student Assignment Akeshia Craven-Howell said.

CMS believes parents may have gotten used to having school in a high school. The language academy used to be home to Waddell High School and some could be expecting CMS will build the new school the same size as the current school.

"I think that is a little bit unrealistic." Craven-Howell said.

While CMS and parents try to get on the same page, parents are concerned plans are in place to have mobile classrooms on the site of the new school.  

"One of the CMS objectives states they want less trailers out there, yet they are budgeting to put in trailers on that property," Carey said.

The school district says there will be more meetings with parents to come up with solutions.

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