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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Kindergarten numbers on rise

  • As the Neosho R-5 Board of Education continues to deal with overcrowding at the Neosho High School, the district is also faced with growing numbers in the district’s kindergarten classes.
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  • As the Neosho R-5 Board of Education continues to deal with overcrowding at the Neosho High School, the district is also faced with growing numbers in the district’s kindergarten classes.
    This year’s kindergarten enrollment totaled 430 students, up 35 students from the 2011-2012 school year.
    Alma Stipp, superintendent, said of the 430 kindergartners, only 345 took part in kindergarten screening.
    She said district administrators had looked at last year’s kindergarten size, and tried to prepare for a larger group, however, it was hard to guess that that many more students would enroll.
     “The reality was, we were prepared for 400 kindergarten students, give or take a few, and we ended up with 430 students,” Stipp told the school board at Monday evening’s meeting. “It’s always hard to plan for kindergarten because you really do not know how many students you’ll have until school starts.”
    Of the kindergarten enrollment, 150 of those students enrolled at Carver Elementary, creating the need for a seventh kindergarten class to be added at that school. Additional kindergarten classes were also added at South Elementary and Benton Elementary.
    While South and Benton had a little extra room to squeeze in one more class, Carver had a more difficult situation. Stipp said in order to make room for the additional Carver kindergarten class, the district’s elementary-level gifted program had to be relocated from Carver to Field Early Childhood Center.
    Stipp said the move resulted in the gifted course, taught by Tina Augustine, moving into a larger classroom.
    “That seems to have worked out really well,” Stipp said.  “None of the options were as good as having space in all of the buildings to add classrooms as needed. The team chose the option which we felt disturbed the least number of students, parents and teachers.”
    Stipp said administrators weighed several options in addressing the district’s growing kindergarten enrollment.
    Options considered include larger class sizes, mobile classrooms, redistricting, and half-day kindergarten.
    “I think long range planning for next year may need to include redistricting which will require careful consideration, community input, and parent notification a long time ahead of time before that happens,” Stipp said.
    Kindergarten class sizes were only discussion items at Monday evening’s meeting and no action was taken regarding that issue.
    However, board members did take action Monday evening on a revision to the district’s budget, allowing it to fairly reflect the district’s revenues and expenditures.
    Tim Crawley, district director of operations, said the revision is common for school districts, as state statute requires that a budget be in place at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. However, the district does not receive its total revenue numbers until August.
    Page 2 of 2 - The board’s action revised the budget to include $38,314,337 in revenue, as well as adjust any expenditures, such as teachers’ raises, voted on after that budget was approved.
    With all revisions in place, the district’s total ending balance for all funds comes to $10,627,033.
    Board members also voted to purchase 74 new school bus tires, at a total cost of $23,423.90. The board voted to purchase 18 tires from Cross Midwest Tire Company of Joplin, for $4,163.90 and 56 tires from Ozarko Tire Center, also of Joplin, for $19,260.

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