School district adding 5th grade to middle school

Erin Snelgrove:

Itzie Duarte is glad her children are enrolled in the West Valley School District. But she is far from happy with the school board’s decision to move fifth-graders to the middle school this fall.
“A fifth-grader isn’t mentally capable of being in a school where there is no recess,” said Duarte, who will have one child entering kindergarten and another entering third grade. “If we need the space, turn the middle school into an elementary school.”
But district officials say next year’s grade reconfiguration – which includes sending ninth-graders to the old high school – is needed to help with overcrowding.
Much of the growth is in the elementary schools. In the past three years, about 300 additional students – including about 60 this year – have entered the district.
The middle school, officials added, is built to accommodate students traveling throughout the building and is not designed for instructing young children.