Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2001

New kids on the block: 85 new students at Eudora schools

August 16, 2001

When school commences Aug. 21, the Eudora School District expects seven new teachers and about 85 new students to pour through the doors of its four buildings.

However, that number isn't official and doesn't necessarily mean an increase of 85 students. Superintendent Marty Kobza said the number doesn't account for students leaving the district. If those numbers stay similar to past years, Kobza said the district could be left with about 40 additional students.

The school is quiet and dark now, but on Tuesday Nottingham
Elementary will be bursting with students on the first day of
class. Kindergarten teacher Stacy Katzenmeier finishes the border
on a bulletin board in preparation for the the big day.

The school is quiet and dark now, but on Tuesday Nottingham Elementary will be bursting with students on the first day of class. Kindergarten teacher Stacy Katzenmeier finishes the border on a bulletin board in preparation for the the big day.

The district will take counts the first several days of school, and it must turn in enrollment numbers to the state Sept. 20. The final count determines how much funding each school will receive from the state.

"It's not a surprise at all," Kobza said of the estimated 85 new students. "I guess we were very conservative."

The conservative estimation could pay off. The district figured budget revenue based on what funding the state would give it with 1,155 students. If the final count comes out higher, the district will republish the budget, including how it would plan to spend the unanticipated revenue, Kobza said.

Although the additional students aren't a huge surprise, Kobza said concerns still surround Nottingham Elementary School. Classroom space is tapped out yet keeping a 20-1 student-teacher ratio is a priority to the district. Growth may force some first grade classes to house 21 or 22 students.

"We cannot break this down any more," Kobza said. "It isn't a lack of desire, it's a lack of space."

Last year, the school relocated the computer lab to a commons area, making way for another classroom. Kobza said portable classrooms aren't an option, in part because they inhibit a desirable learning environment while allowing districts to put off thinking about long-term solutions,

"They become a crutch," he said.

The district also plans to evaluate itself in all areas, including curriculum, technology, transportation and the workings of the central office. Kobza said the district would gather information through surveys and present the findings to groups like site councils, the Parent-Teacher Organization and faculty groups for discussion. Then the board can take action.

"We will begin to provide assistance at a broad level, beginning with what the board feels like is the most important," Kobza said. "We're not going to spend a year just discussing things. We'll become a district of action."

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