District planning for more elementary school students
In light of what appears to be a continuing trend in increasing enrollment, elementary school principal Jerry Daskoski is trying to cover his bases for next year.
In September, to cut down class sizes, TES added an additional third-grade classroom and shifted one class of students into the art trailer. The art teacher now moves from classroom to classroom.
The school has attempted to use other space in the building for classrooms, including a basement under the south gym, which fell short on air-quality testing and didn't meet code guidelines for classrooms.
Because the school is in danger of outgrowing the building, one alternative is to purchase a new portable classroom.
Another alternative, which the board discussed briefly at the Jan. 12 meeting, would be to move all the sixth-grade classes to the junior high campus in portable classrooms. Yet one more option might be to move ninth-graders to the high school and the sixth-graders into the junior high.
Superintendent Richard Erickson told board members that the district had grown by about 18 students since the official count taken Sept. 20.
"We're right on course right now to look at a 30- to 40-student increase," Erickson said, noting that nine of those students had moved in during Christmas break.
Sixth-grade teachers voiced their concerns at the board meeting. Teachers want to make sure the sixth-graders' quality of education doesn't suffer, that students have adequate restrooms and the same access to computers and other educational materials that they now have.
Teacher Laurie Bottenfield said student needs come first.
"Our major concern is that whatever we do is in the best interest of a sixth-grade student -- it's the kids that we're concerned about," Bottenfield said.
Board member Ron Moore advised careful consideration before making any decisions.
"I'd rather go slow and be careful, as opposed to sticking trailers everywhere, and then if we build buildings why duplicate those expenses?"
Moore noted that even if portable classrooms were given to the district, it would still cost about $30,000 per trailer to set them up.
Erickson suggested that the board advertise for a trailer so that if it turns out one is needed, the district may be able to get one at a lower cost.
Board member Bob DeHoff echoed Moore's comment, "I think it's fine to look for one, but definitely not to get in a hurry," DeHoff said.
Moore said a modular classroom could always be added later.
"I'd rather put up with a crowded classroom for a little while and then if we have an enrollment spurt you can do something about sticking in a trailer," Moore said.
The board unanimously voted to advertise for a modular unit.
The next regular board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the superintendent's office.