Killdeer Public School in Dunn County, ND is running out space, and officials want to address the situation now rather than later.
More than 600 kids are enrolled at Killdeer Public School in a facility designed for about 500, and the superintendent doesn’t see that number going down anytime soon.
“What has happened to us throughout the course of the year is we have enrolled new students every week since the start of school,” said Gary Wilz superintendent Killdeer Public School.
Teachers at the school said classrooms that should have about 18 students have more than 20.
“It’s hard to manage your classroom when you have everything crammed into one space,” said Andy Murphy, teacher at Killdeer Public School.
Students at the school also said that they have noticed that classroom congestion has become an issue for certain grades.
“I think in 2nd grade they have like 60 students(three sections), so they might not have as much time with the teacher as they would like to spend,” said Kassidee Willis, Killdeer student.
To address the issue the school officials are exploring the idea of adding additional sections onto some of the grade levels and repurposing spaces in the school like the library and weight room into classrooms.
They are also looking at spaces in the community like the High Plains Community Center, but Wilz said he ideally would like to keep all the classrooms under one roof.
“Trying to keep everyone under one roof obviously eliminates many of the logistic issues . . . student movement, hot lunch, and PE”.
Wilz also said adding on more sections and spaces to the school means hiring more teachers in the near future.
“We have advertisements out right now to look for more elementary teachers”.
The superintendent said they would ideally like to implement the changes next Fall, and the school hopes the changes will make it a little easier breathe in the classroom.
Killdeer Public School is Pre-K through 12th grade, and the school superintendent said the enrollment has grown by about 100 students from this time last year.
Down the Road
A possible long term solution to the overcrowding is building a new school.
Killdeer Public School officials and the school board have used community forums lately to see how people would feel about the idea.
Wilz said so far the response has been pretty good.
The school has hired an architectural firm to develop designs and is looking at potential sites for a future elementary or high school.
The superintendent said they are also exploring the idea of putting a bond referendum up for vote sometime this Spring or Fall.