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Denison Independent School District announced an increase of 113 students for the 2017 — 2018 school year at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. Superintendent Henry Scott said it is the biggest jump in enrollment that the district has experienced in a number of years.
Scott said this is both exciting and concerning as Denison elementary schools continue to inch toward their maximum capacities.
“There is nothing right now that we need to do,” Scott said. “But if we see the same trend next year, the board needs to develop a plan to deal with that. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re getting more housing and that growth is going to generate more students. We can handle up to 500 at both campuses, but if it gets over 500 we’re going to have to do something.”
With the addition of 39 students at Hyde Park Elementary, the school is currently at around 445 students. An addition of another 40 students next year would put them near capacity. The board believes the multifamily housing at Gatewood is affecting the growth for Hyde Park Elementary. The region is expected to continue growing in years to come.
Additionally, Mayes Elementary added around 20 students bringing them to approximately 450 students. Board President Randy Sedlacek said the district is excited to have the students while also being aware that action may be needed in the future.
“We obviously have to be prepared for growth,” Sedlacek said. “It’s a concern when certain areas are growing faster than others and we’re not prepared. It kind of puts us in a bind. We are not in a position right now where we have to be taking action. But we need to be thinking about it in the future.”
Scott said the approximate 2.5 percent growth for the district will bring in an additional $500,000 in revenue. He went on to say this revenue will help offset the current budget deficit. Scott continued by saying there are several options for how best to handle the growth.
“We can build upon Hyde Park,” Scott said. “With Mayes also growing we’re going to have to add onto those campuses or we’re going to have to build a new middle school. It’s a good thing but the board needs to be aware that if this comes up again next year and we see this kind of growth, it’s going to trigger planning for taking care of space for elementary kids.”
Sedlacek agreed saying, although a plan needs to be in place, the growth is exciting for the city of Denison as well as the district.
“You are always excited when you have people moving in,” Sedlacek said. “That’s a sign that your community is growing and doing well. The quality of life — they must see that. They have trust in our community, city leaders and schools. People don’t move to a community if they don’t have trust in the school system. We are excited about that.”