Portable problems plaguing St. Johns schools two days before the students return

·2 min read

St. Johns County schools are dealing with some growing pains with the start of its school year just two days away.

The district had to build 121 new portables to meet the influx of new students, but as of Monday roughly one out of four still hadn’t been fully installed.

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At Switzerland Point Middle School at least six of them won’t be ready in time for the start of school Wednesday.

In an email sent to parents, the school’s principle indicated the portables should be ready to go on Thursday, Aug. 18.

In the meantime, students in select classes will report to alternative rooms.

Kelly Weary is the parent of an elementary school student in the district.

She said feels like the district should have been better prepared.

“I wish there could be more preparation when they know there’s as much growth out here and have the schools ready and hold the developers more accountable to having schools ready and available for the kids that are moving into the county. Cause we’re so over capacity at every school out here and it’s just been a major point of contention over the years,” said Weary.

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St. Johns County grew by 15,000 residents between 2020 and 2021 alone — the fastest rate in the state.

The portable preparation problems aren’t isolated to Switzerland Point either.

Districtwide 29 of 121 newly added portables are still not ready.

Like at Switzerland Point, the district said students will have a classroom on day one.

“Any schools impacted have plans for classroom locations and instruction,” said district spokesperson in an emailed statement.

For Weary, the start of school scramble is another signal leadership at the top matters.

“We do have a school board race coming up soon. So, it’s really important that parents pay attention to who is running and what they find most important out here right now. And to me, this is at the top of the list. Having schools at 150 percent capacity isn’t really conducive, along with having teachers want to retire from being overworked and stressed right now,” said Weary.

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