Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parent Makes Plea for More Schools in Light of Growth

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parent Makes Plea for More Schools in Light of Growth

Article excerpt

The Rockwood School District needs to move quickly to come up with more classrooms next fall, a parent told members of the School Board last week.

"We have a problem with rapid growth," said the parent, George Johnson. "We need some new schools now, and they aren't even on the drawing board."

People are paying $200,000 to $400,000 for new homes in the district, said Johnson, a lawyer. Those people will not be too happy about their children going to school in trailers or starting school early in the morning or going to school in shifts to accommodate extra students, Johnson said.

Johnson also encouraged board members to consider setting aside money to pay for new computers and software.

Rockwood parents and school officials have discussed for months the possibility of a bond issue to pay for more space.

Superintendent Dennis L. Peterson said Thursday that a proposal for a bond issue could go before the School Board next year.

He said that parents and teachers have begun to study what their schools need to cope with rising enrollments. Those groups will report to a bond-issue study group, which will study boundary adjustments, additional classrooms and new schools.

"We know some schools are crowded," Peterson said during a break from a meeting of the School Board last week. "We are trying to work as fast as we can."

Teachers also are aware of some crowding but have yet to take a stand on the subject of a bond issue to pay for more space, said JoAnn Goehler, president of the Rockwood National Education Association.

In recent years, enrollment has soared in the northwestern part of the district in far west St. Louis County. Many new subdivisions have been built, and new residents are still moving into them. About 1,000 new students came to the district this fall, pushing enrollment to 19,411. Enrollment is expected to rise by about 4,000 students over the next four years. …

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