School expansion in the Rock Creek school district is a topic that will continue to be discussed many more times, but three public meetings that occurred in January, for everyone from teachers to parents, will be vital to possibly resolve these expansion issues.
The meetings that occurred were at Rock Creek on Jan. 19, at Westmoreland on Jan. 24 and at St. George on Jan. 26.
These meetings were crucial to forming a committee to discuss future expansion options.
“Right now, we are having meetings to try and inform the public on how they would like to see the district grow,” superintendent Kevin Logan said.
However, the meetings were not to discuss the exact changes just yet.
“Right now nothing has been decided,” Rock Creek principal Eric Koppes said. “Mr. Logan went through the Board [of Education] goals with the community members that came to the meeting.”
At the meetings, Logan also talked about the process for a bond referendum and said the Board of Education “would decide if they would like to have a bond referendum or a vote to see if this is the direction the public wants to go. The next general election is in November of 2017, and we would have to let them know 45 days prior to the election.”
When asked about the changes that will occur, board president Stuart Schwarz said, “There may be a bond issue put forth in the near future — this year possibly — if that’s the way the board wants to go.”
With the increase in students in the district and class sizes in the schools, the need for school expansion plans are coming into the spotlight.
“Right now, we are closing in on being full,” Schwarz said.
In the meantime, adjustments are being made at Rock Creek for the 2017-2018 school year that could help alleviate crowded classrooms until any expansion is completed.
“We have added a science/math position this school year in junior high,” Koppes said. “We are adding a social studies position this fall for the junior high.”
By making these changes, the junior high, which has 137 students enrolled this year in Grades 7 and 8, will have four blocks of the core classes instead of three, which means that the number of students per class will go from 26 or 27 to less.
“As we look clear down through kindergarten, there is a class of over 100 students that will becoming up through Rock Creek,” Koppes said.
Now that there will be four blocks of core classes, there will be a maximum of about 25 kids per class, which is still less than what there is now.
Along with any classroom expansions at Rock Creek, there are other improvements that have been discussed, including the adding a sport, such as soccer, and adding other things, such as “a new playing surface of the football field… a new auditorium… and a baseball diamond at the Rock Creek campus,” Logan said.
Article and photo by staff member Karter Carlson