WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 20, 2011, 08:36 AM

Parents express concern with overcrowding at Kennedy Elementary

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Parents in the Fargo School District are concerned about overcrowding at Kennedy Elementary School. They're worried it's leading to lax learning. About 90 people showed up to a meeting to see what options the district is considering for the school.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Parents are being asked to turn in this feedback sheet by Monday. One day before the next school board meeting. It's then, school leaders may vote on building on to Kennedy by next fall, an addition that could cost 1.5 million dollars.

Just the look on Nancy Froslie's face tells how worried she is about her children's learning at Kennedy Elementary. It is a school at 120 percent capacity. 103 students more than 528, the building fits.

“We feel like our kids are missing out on activities, classrooms are overgrown. They don't get the attention from the teacher that they should get in normal size classrooms and something's got to change.”

Kennedy opened in 2006 with plenty of room, but as neighborhoods rapidly grow, so has enrollment.

“The trends of our neighborhood, houses are being built; I just know it's going to be bigger next year.”

Each grade is to have four classes. However, kindergarten is at 7. Portable classrooms have been added while 5th graders are being bussed to Discovery Middle School to allow more room.

“Obviously the school is very large. We love this school, but obviously 7 sections of kindergarten is insane.”

The district is looking at changing widespread boundary maps, but that won't happen for at least one year. That could help. Other ideas could be moving programs north or adding onto Kennedy.

“I don't think any of the solutions that are being contemplated would result in an increase in property taxes. I think the cash reserves are sufficient.”

Many of these families built homes or moved south so their children could walk to school and be in smaller class sizes. Now, they are left not knowing if those decisions were worth it.

“Look at zoning, district lines, so some of the kids closer to school like Centennial and Bennett can be moved so kids in the immediate area can be a part of this school.”

The earliest a new school could be built is 2016. Kennedy is the only school dealing with this population problem, but Bennett isn't too far behind.