Bismarck Public Schools discuss options for increasing enrollment

Good Day Dakota

Earlier this month, we told you that Mandan Public Schools are dealing with increasing enrollment. Bismarck Public Schools recently had a board meeting to talk about how they will handle its rise in students.

As of December, BPS has seen the most students ever. Right now, they have three schools experiencing overcapacity issues, which include Sunrise, Liberty, and Lincoln Elementary.

KX News spoke with the superintendent who tells us they take this issue very seriously and say all schools are at 75-percent capacity, right now.

At the board meeting, they presented information on the possibilities of adding portables, changing grade configuration, renting space, making boundary changes, and building new schools or school additions.

They even talked about renting some of the space at strip malls around the city to help with the increase. And they’re keeping the budget in mind.

Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent Jason Hornbacher says, “The other thing we are doing is.. can we pay for this with the funds that we currently have? Is there a way that we can maximize our dollars and build outside some of these processes with the dollars that we currently have and not going to the taxpayers and asking for any more money. Those of the things we will be working on.”

Board members will be meeting again to talk about the cost of adding additional portables on January 13th.

Hornbacher also told KX about a possible expansion for Legacy High to make it a 1,600 student facility like the other high schools, but everything is still in limbo. They are using the latest data to prepare for the future.

“We are looking at that trending data and make the best possible educated guess… that’s how many kindergarten kids are we going to have next year and how many are we going to have 2 years from now and how do we project we are stewards of the money we are spending and using the best data possible,” says Hornbacher.

From Septemeber to December, Bismarck Public Schools gained more than 60 students.

For the complete full list of topics they discussed, click here.

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