At the state's largest public school, overcrowding with no end i - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

At the state's largest public school, overcrowding and no relief in sight

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The plot of land has been picked out. But the money to pay for the new classroom building Campbell High School needs isn't yet in the budget.

"We have too many students, not enough classrooms," said Campbell Principal John Henry Lee.

It's a problem the largest public high school in the state has been dealing with for some time, and with new families continuing to move into the area, enrollment is only forecast to grow. This school year, enrollment at the campus stands at 3,049 students. That's up 15 percent from 2010, when the school had 2,639 students. And it's 1,000 students more than the school had in 2005.

The school was built for 1,700 students.

"It's really hard to try and get through the hallways and try to get to class on time," said senior Shayna DeGuzman.

Brandon Komatsu has taught ninth-grade English at Campbell for five years.

"When I first started teaching I had 36 or 37 students in a class. My first week we didn't have enough desks,"said Komatsu.

The Department of Education has been doing what it can to help the staff.  Portable units currently under construction will provide well over a dozen new classrooms by the first of the year. That's enough so that most teachers will no longer have to share a space. But by no means is it enough for what's coming.

"Our projected enrollment will grow all the way up to the 2018-2019 school year.  The projection on that is about 3600 students," said Lee.

That's more than double the capacity the school was originally built to hold. Last month the DOE asked lawmakers for $30 million to cover the cost of a three-story, 20-classroom building.

Meantime, the clock is ticking.

"It takes time to hire the architects, make sure the designs are ready, for construction takes time, the bidding process," said Lee.

The legislature will make the decision on whether to approve funding for a new building next spring.  

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