KENWOOD — Kenwood Academy had one less thing to worry about after being spared during the second round of CPS budget cuts.
"We were projected to lose over $200,000. They did not take any dollars from us," Principal Gregory Jones said during the Local School Council meeting Tuesday evening.
But that reprieve in the second round of cuts still leaves the high school with a daunting challenge: overcrowding. The school at 5015 South Blackstone Ave. had to cut $1.2 million from its budget earlier this year.
Jones said Kenwood's enrollment is now at 111 percent of its capacity, but Chicago Public Schools does not consider a school "overutilized" until that level reaches 120 percent.
Kenwood was built to accommodate 1, 646 students but now has 1,819 students — including three who enrolled during the school day Tuesday.
Jones insisted there was no shortage of teachers for the students — just a lack of space.
"We have the teachers. It's just room-sharing. The biggest impact is teachers sharing classes and the halls being overcrowded," Jones said.
"We have two options to reduce class sharing: We can do a staggered bell schedule, which I think is a horrible option, or extend classes into other parts of the building which we traditionally do not hold classes in."
Jones said the school has put up dividers to split rooms in half — or in one case into five separate classrooms to serve roughly 200 students. Some of the teachers are also using unconventional ways to get to their constantly changing classrooms.
"They walk around the building looking really weird with a cart because they have to share three or four classrooms. In other schools, teachers have one class assigned, and they're assigned to one room for the entire day," Jones said. "When I first arrived here I was in shock to see teachers moving all over the building. It was a really strange thing to see."