Archive for Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Enrollment increases spread across grade levels

August 25, 2004

Some people sock away pennies for a rainy day.

Tonganoxie Elementary School's assistant principal Tammie George socks away umbrellas.

Dozens of them.

That's so, on rainy days, students who attend classes in buildings outside the regular school won't get wet when heading for lunch, music, physical education or art classes.

"We have a full set of umbrellas," George said, noting that she scouts around to buy them on sale.

This is just one concern of many that George and TES Principal Jerry Daskoski face in dealing with an increasing enrollment.

On Friday, according to Superintendent Richard Erickson, the district had enrolled 49 more students than last Sept. 20.

Erickson noted that the increase was spread throughout the district, with all grades except 4, 10 and 11 showing an increase in enrollment. Erickson is predicting that by the time students are counted on Sept. 20 -- the official counting date -- the district will officially be up 35 to 40 students from the 2003-2004 school year.

As of Monday,

Tonganoxie Elementary School's enrollment of 820, had increased by 19 since the Sept. 20 count taken during the 2003-2004 school year.

This follows a four-year trend of enrollment hikes in the Tonganoxie school district.

The elementary school building currently has one of the largest enrollments of any elementary school in Kansas, according to state officials.

Where to put the students, how to keep small student/teacher ratios and how to schedule lunchroom time, as well as class times for art, music and physical education takes planning.

And, George said, if this year follows previous years' trends, enrollment will continue to increase throughout the school year.

Teachers have been good sports about the growth, George said. But, she added, she knows they're aware of the situation.

"I just see a lot of teachers feeling concerned about it -- will the numbers continue to grow and what if," George said.

"I hear a lot of discussion from staff in that direction. We went up in enrollment all last year and if we started above that this year and continue to go up, we would end at a pretty high number."

George is keeping her fingers crossed that voters in November will approve a $25.3 million bond issue that would provide funds to construct a new middle school that would include fifth- and sixth-graders. The current elementary school is for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, so a middle school would relieve enrollment pressures on the existing elementary school. The bond issue also would provide funds to remodel the elementary school and transform the junior-senior high campus into a school for ninth- through 12-graders.

"Our first route is to work on this bond issue and to see that it gets passed," George said.

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