Archive for Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Basehor-Linwood considers available space in schools

April 16, 2003

Several school district teachers were relieved to learn Monday, April 14 that funding problems would not equal position cutbacks in the Basehor-Linwood School District.

However, teachers did receive some sobering news Monday night concerning the possible number of students per class next year.

Facing a 5 percent increase in student enrollment -- 80 to 100 students -- and on the heels of two failed bond issues, school board members considered facility uses and space needs Monday night.

"We need to consider what's the most effective way to deal with the available space we have," Superintendent Cal Cormack said.

Several schools, most notably Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, are approaching capacity levels. Future projections indicate students per building levels could increase as much as 5 percent by next year.

A 5 percent enrollment increase would mean:

  • 385 students at Basehor Elementary School
  • 178 students at Linwood Elementary School
  • 322 students at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School
  • 298 students at Basehor-Linwood Middle School
  • 573 students at Basehor-Linwood High School

If the enrollment projections prove accurate, the schools in most dire need of additional space would be Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools, and Basehor-Linwood Middle School.

The school board reviewed four options in dealing with the growth and three of those options could be considered in the future.

And though change was the topic of discussion Monday night, school board members decided it best to progress through holding the status quo.

"There's no question there would be a tremendous advantage in taking the time to look and plan for our best option," said Don Swartz, district director of building operations.

By not making a change to the current school district structure, class sizes could increase in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 students per room.

"Nobody likes the idea of larger class sizes," Cormack said. "But I think you could stay with the status quo."

However, school officials plan to begin researching the best of three other options laid before them Monday night or other possible solutions to the potential overcrowding problem.

Those options include:

  • Housing all sixth graders in what's now the Basehor-Linwood Education Service Center.

Before Glenwood Ridge Elementary School was built, the education service center was used as all sixth-grade building for Basehor Elementary School students.

This option has drawbacks, however.

The Basehor-Linwood Virtual Charter School operates out of the building now but would be moved out if the building housed sixth-graders.

School officials said moving the school out of the building could jeopardize the success of the virtual school, which is widely recognized as a pioneer in on-line education.

  • Moving Linwood kindergarten through fourth grades to Glenwood Ridge, move all sixth-graders to Linwood and all fifth-graders to the the education service center. This option entails transportation headaches, and again, moves the Charter School out of its current building.
  • Make the eighth grade part of Basehor-Linwood High School and move the sixth grade to the middle school. If this option was pursued, the eighth grade class would be housed in the northeast wing of BLHS.

"The only way it would work is if you operate the eighth grade program as a school within a school," Cormack said. "You'd have to treat it totally independent from the high school and limit the contact with the high school students."

School officials are expected to consider these options in coming weeks.

"We're not trying to awfulize the situation," Cormack said. "We're saying we're going to be facing these issues.

"I think we can survive this first phase, which is the next school year

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