Meridian School District overcrowding
Hundreds of Meridian School District students have been forced to change teachers or classrooms since the beginning of the school year. It's all because the district has a numbers problem. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Hundreds of Meridian School District students have been forced to change teachers or classrooms since the beginning of the school year. It's all because the district has a numbers problem. Too many students in some schools, too few in others.
A viewer asked Today's 6 On Your Side why decisions drastically affecting children lives were not made before school started. Anna Lyon's third grade year got off to a rocky start.
"Last Wednesday I picked my daughter up from school and she was bawling," said Anna's mother Keri Lyon. The Star Elementary student found out she would have a new classroom and a new teacher. In order to try and balance class sizes, the Meridian School District shuffled teachers to and from seven different elementary schools. "We can't afford to leave teachers at schools with 18 or 19 kids and hire another teacher," said Meridian School District Spokesman Eric Exline. "We've already reached every teacher we can afford in our budget in terms of state funding."
At this week's school board meeting, upset parents made their case. "Kids even though they're in the same school have to switch classrooms like that and get reacquainted with a teacher and a teacher getting reacquainted with the child, they're losing days," argued Hunter Elementary parent Maureen Richardson.
When the bell rings at Hunter, 752 students flood the hallways. In fact, that elementary school is so overcrowded one class doesn't even have a classroom. Those students are being taught in the teachers lounge. "This was a chain reaction. It had an affect all the way down the line," said Lyon.
So the big question, why didn't the district figure out all its number crunching before school started? "You can get them maybe 2 to 3 days before the start, but we're still adding kids to the very end and that's why it happens late," says Exline. The district says the only real solution is to redraw school boundaries, which is disruptive to families.
Now in the third week of school, Anna and hundreds of other students in the district are finally settled in and ready to learn.