Osceola high schools could all be overcrowded in 5 years

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Eyewitness News learned the Osceola County School District is looking for ways to alleviate overcrowding at four high schools in the county.

As it stands, there are at least 1,000 extra students at Osceola, Saint Cloud, Celebration and Gateway high schools.

Osceola High School in Kissimmee is so overcrowded, junior Benjamin Pizarro wonders if he's learning to his potential.

"There's like, a lot of students in many classes and there's only one or two teachers. (They) may not have time for each student to get educated," Pizarro said.

Documents show that all seven high schools in Osceola will be overcrowded in five years.

Osceola High School was built to hold 2,300 students but there are 300 extra students.

School board members discussed possible solutions Tuesday night.

Dozens of portable classrooms may be one answer. Another is limiting out-of-zone transfers, which would require students to go to high schools closer to their neighborhoods.

"We need a new high school right now. The money just isn't there," Osceola School Board Chairman Jay Wheeler said.

The district needs $137 million to fix high school capacity issues. It has $8.5 million to meet the capacity needs of all K-12 schools.

Wheeler said he doesn't think they'll have to ask residents for more tax money right now.

District leaders hope the state forks over money in the coming years.

They blame a surge in population on the overcrowding. Thousands of foreclosed homes have been bought, bringing in more families with high school-aged children.