Students flock to grade school
Tonganoxie Elementary School just keeps growing.
A year ago, the school year started with 759 students in grades K-6. The year ended in May with a count of 772.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, which was the second day of enrollment, that number had grown to 797. This number is based on the number of students projected to matriculate to the next grade, as well as on new students.
Although students can enroll at any time, this week's planned enrollment sessions run through Friday.
Even after Jerry Daskoski, principal, and Tammie George, assistant principal, know Friday afternoon's enrollment numbers, the actual count won't be realized until transfer forms begin coming in for students who have moved to other districts.
Monday evening, George said that many of Monday's new students were from families that had not previously contacted the school.
"I was surprised at the number that didn't move that far," George said. "There were many that came from Basehor or Leavenworth. I really expected people to be coming from farther away."
And, Daskoski said, he thinks many of the new families plan to stay in Tonganoxie.
"It looks like 75 percent or more were homeowners, not renters, which probably means they're more permanent," Daskoski said.
A year ago, an enrollment increase meant the school added another third-grade classroom six weeks after the school year started.
If that should happen again this year, it's possible a new class could be put in one of two modular units installed this summer, Daskoski said.
An extra classroom would complicate scheduling outside the classroom, Daskoski said.
"Mrs. George is in charge of scheduling music, PE and art, and I don't think there's a single spot that's not being used," Daskoski said.
George said that as more classrooms are added, it means the lunch room, which doubles as a gymnasium, is tied up longer during the day.
"That takes away from PE time," George said. "It has a domino effect. We've run out of options, basically because of our size."
But Daskoski smiled as he said, considering the sad state of school finances in Kansas, there's a bright side.
"It's a good problem," Daskoski said. "I'd much rather have the enrollment increase because that is probably one of the things that helped us stay the course and not cut programs. ... And that is very rare, especially in the last couple of years with the state of finances in the state of Kansas where school districts are slashing and cutting."