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Students and parents say South Kitsap High School too crowded to be safe

Crowded classrooms, packed hallways, not enough desks. Students and parents at South Kitsap High School say overcrowding has always been a problem, but this is the worst they've seen. (Photo: Facebook)

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - Crowded classrooms, packed hallways, not enough desks. Students and parents at South Kitsap High School say overcrowding has always been a problem, but this is the worst they've seen.

School started last Wednesday, with 600 extra students because the school switched to a four-year high school, which meant adding 9th graders this year.

Former English teacher Andrew Stebor said it’s too crowded to be safe.

“It’s gotten to the extreme,” said Stebor, who taught 9th and 11th grade English at the school last year. “The hallways are too narrow, too many students. It’s way too rough for the students and staff that work there.”

The only high school in the school district has 2,800 students.

“It’s ridiculous. The hallways are all the way full. It takes a few minutes. Most kids are late to classes because it takes a few minutes," said senior Jase Sero. "They’re running out of food at lunch. Some classes, people don’t have desks and lockers."

As crowded as it seems, the high school’s student population is still below capacity, according to the school district.

But, the district says it’s addressing parent’s worries and adding new portable classrooms next month.

“I think we’re doing what we can with what we have,” said Jay Vallars, the Assistant Superintendent for Student Success at South Kitsap District Schools.

Two different school bond measures have gone up for a vote. Both have failed. It’s been 30 years since the community has passed a bond to build a new school.

“We’d love to have a new high school,” said Vallars. “Ideally, I think we should have two high schools in this district to provide those opportunities to have the space we need.”

Some say it’s now up to the community to push for change

“The growth that keeps coming, we do need that bond money,” said Vallars.

The Fire Marshall visited South Kitsap High School on Monday to look at student passing times and to make sure that students could get out safely in case of an emergency.

The fire department determined there are no fire hazards.

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