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Montgomery County parents concerned about overcrowding at elementary school

Parents say Clarksburg Elementary's enrollment will be more than double its capacity this fall.

CLARKSBURG, Md. — Some Montgomery County parents say they want the local school district to address overcrowding at their kids’ school immediately.

Clarksburg Elementary School has a capacity of 311 students, according to Montgomery County Public School. However, multiple parents tell WUSA9 they were recently told by school officials the campus would have close to 800 students this fall.

Overcrowding at Clarksburg Elementary was a point of concern for parents even before the pandemic. MCPS data showed more than 620 students were enrolled at the school on September 30, 2019.

MCPS also projected the school’s enrollment to double its capacity rate through 2026.

Overcrowding at the school has coincided with a dramatic population increase in Clarksburg over the last ten years.

According to the US Census, Clarksburg’s population more than doubled from 13,766 people in 2010 to 29,051 people in 2020.

Susan Owens has two children who will attend Clarksburg Elementary this year. She said the overcrowding in the building is stressful to students, parents, and teachers.

“A kindergarten class should not have 25-plus kids in it,” Owens said. “Especially during a time of COVID.”

She added that sometimes students have to wait 30 minutes to go to the bathroom because the school only has three restrooms. Owens said she is also worried music teachers will not have a dedicated space where they will be able to teach their students this fall.

“Every teacher deserves to have a classroom,” she said.

MCPS plans to build a new elementary school in the area to relieve overcrowding at Clarksburg Elementary. However, it will not be completed for another three years.

In the interim, Owens and other parents are sending letters to MCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education urging them to install two more portable classrooms and a portable bathroom to the Clarksburg Elementary campus.

Montgomery County Public Schools sent WUSA9 the following statement in response to parents’ concerns:

“MCPS understands the concerns of the Clarksburg community as their community and the school system overall continues to experience significant growth. MCPS is providing the school with an additional portable this fall and we will continue to evaluate all available options to alleviate the strains of overutilization. A new elementary school will be built in this cluster by 2023.”

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