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Many Chesapeake schools are overcrowded, parents say

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - It's a problem many families in Chesapeake are learning the hard way. The schools they are moving to certain neighborhoods for are overcrowded. Nearly one in every three Chesapeake Public Schools are overcrowded. Because of that, many families say their kids aren't getting the education they are supposed to.

Gary Grove and his wife moved from New Orleans to Hampton Roads eight years ago. The couple did plenty of research to make sure they lived in neighborhoods with good schools.

"I just want the best I could provide for my kids whenever I got up here. And we paid a pretty good amount for the house because of that," said Grove.

But now, they are homeschooling their kids. It is not what they planned for when they made plans to move.

"It wasn't the school, it was the area. You were buying into the area where parents were getting involved and therefore the schools were a reflection of the area," said Grove. He said he noticed how the schools with some of the best ratings had parents who would help their kids with schoolwork, get extra tutoring and spend more time outside of school doing homework.

Out of 46 schools in Chesapeake, 16 are currently overcrowded according to the school district's reports. That's 30 percent. The schools that are overcrowded the worst are:

  • Hickory Middle School: 24 percent overcrowded or 318 students over capacity
  • Chittum Elementary: 18 percent overcrowded or 119 students over capacity
  • Oscar Smith High School: 15 percent overcrowded or 320 students over capacity

"They keep putting the portables in, it keeps over-crowding, portables, get to the point of failure, build a new school. But it's not in front of the population, it's always after," said Grove.

Over the summer, Grove and his wife pulled their kids out of the school system. That's when they found out they weren't alone. Grove said his wife didn't hear back from administration after they submitted forms. Grove said, "They were so backlogged with people taking their kids out of school, doing the same thing we were doing."

The Grove family and many other families News 3 spoke to believe it's because the city is adding too many developments, too fast so the infrastructure and schools suffer.

"Kids' education, that's our future. That's my kids' future. That's our future. If you can't put the brakes on for the kids' education, then what are you going to put the brakes on for?"