School Board Proposes to Relocate Riverside Elementary Students - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

School Board Proposes to Relocate Riverside Elementary Students


     While the Bismarck Public School District is adding three schools, children in one existing elementary school will be moved out -- permanently.  Parents with children at Riverside Elementary are asking, "why us?"

     This could be the last year elementary students fill the halls at Riverside Elementary.  Under a new proposal by the Bismarck School District, Riverside students will be moved to Dorthy Moses.  Students that attend classes at the Hughes Building will move in.

     According to Kim Stevenson, PTO President of Riverside Elementary, parents have been in the dark about no longer using the facility as an elementary school.  "Every e-mail . . . that has been sent out simply states that Riverside students will join Dorothy Moses Elementary School.  That's all it says.  The people I have spoke to say, 'what do you mean they're closing a school, when we're so cramped for space?'"

     Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent, Tamara Uselman, says space is the reason.  Riverside is under-capacity, while other schools are over-capacity.  The Hughes Building will be turned into an elementary school - until the new schools are built.  "Think of it from an equity standpoint," says Uselman.  "Can you support an elementary school that has 90 kids in it where the school North of them has 750 kids in it?  Can I, as a leader, say that's equitable?" 

     "My argument to that is this is a short-term problem," says Stevenson.  "Why are we having a permanent solution here?  And why is that solution at the cost of these kids?"  Stevenson goes on to say this move is unfair not only to Riverside parents, but also to all Bismarck voters.  She says taxpayers were not informed they would lose an elementary school permanently, when they approved building two new elementary schools.

     However, Superintendent Uselman responds by saying, "the thing that I would say back to the taxpayers is we're using every inch of space in the District like they've said we've had to before we go out and ask for more space, and that's what this proposal does."

     The second public forum to discuss boundary issues is being held tonight at 6:30 at Horizon Middle School.

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