Beachland Elementary fails class size requirement by half student

Update: Wednesday, 11:55 a.m.

VERO BEACH – Beachland Elementary School in Vero Beach has been cited for not meeting the class size requirements for its pre-kindergarten through third grade classes by less than half a student.

The Florida Department of Education’s board made the ruling Tuesday and determined that the Indian River County School District would have to reallocated nearly $16,900 from its operating budget to construction to address the class overflow.

“This is really zero impact on the school itself,” said Assistant Superintendent Michael Degutis of the fund transfer, adding that neither parents nor students are anticipated to see a difference.

He added that the class size counts occurred in October and at that time the school was indeed over capacity in its pre-K through third grades.

Degutis explained that Beachland had an influx of approximately 22 students the district hadn’t planned on for two reasons – St. Edwards announcing it would be consolidating its lower school with its upper and property values on the island.

“Now’s the time to buy on the beach,” he said, which families did, placing their children in Beachland Elementary’s zone.

Class size requirements established state that pre-kindergarten through third grade classes can have no more than 18 students. Beachland Elementary has 18.44.

“It’s minimal,” said Indian River County School District spokeswoman Patty Vasquez.

Beachland is the only school in the district that did not meet class size reduction requirements, according to the Board of Education.

Degutis said he has since called the principal at Beachland Elementary to find out if the school has resolved the class size issue since October.

The $16,899 the district has to move out of its general fund and into construction would not be enough to cover the cost of moving a portable onto the school’s campus to address the over crowding, according to Degutis.

The cost of just setting up a portable ranges from $40,000 to $50,000 to connect it to electricity, water, sewer, and other infrastructure. The portables also cost $700 a month once up and running, Degutis said.

Indian River County School District is one of nine that had at least one school out of compliance. There are 16 traditional schools throughout the state that were found not in compliance.

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