Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Forecast projects BSHS to reach capacity in 2009-2010 school year

April 24, 2008

The Bonner Springs-Edwardsville School Board got a glimpse of the future at its Monday night meeting.

The board heard a presentation by Robert Schwartz, of RSP Associates, on population trends and enrollment numbers. The report was commissioned to help determine when and where schools should be built.

The biggest news in Schwartz's report was that Bonner Springs High School would likely hit 100 percent enrollment capacity - 825 students - in the 2009-2010 school year.

The district had been planning on a new middle school as the next immediate building construction needed, but Schwartz's analysis shows Clark Middle School's enrollment capacity to probably be sufficient until at least the 2011-2012 school year.

Other data in the report included a significant increase in enrollment numbers for sixth-graders this school year over the number of fifth-graders in the 2006-2007 school year. Schwartz had no explanation for the fact, although the decrease in numbers of the kindergarten students to first-grade students in the same years he said could be explained by parents enrolling their children in private schools after their kindergarten year.

In five years, the midpoint projection for the district - as opposed to the high-end or low-end projections - shows a total district enrollment of 2,972 students, which is an increase of more than 500 students over the current total of 2,425.

Superintendent Robert Van Maren said the district had some "wiggle room" of about 40 students and that there were a couple of other mediating factors that would allow the district some time to decide whether or what kind of a new high school building would be needed and when.

There are four or five rooms used for computer labs, for example, in which space could be freed up, Van Maren said.

"In the next two years we're probably going to move to some kind of computing device" that students could carry around, Van Maren said, though he emphasized that didn't necessarily mean a laptop computer.

Also, Van Maren said, the district had other options, including reconfiguring which grades are housed in each building and creating a nontraditional high school, where "not all the kids are there all the time."

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