While the increased student growth is taxing on our school facilities, it’s a positive trend for our community. There are many school districts in Marion County that would love to see the kind of growth that we experience.
We are fortunate to live in Perry Township. My property taxes increased, but the value of my home went up as well. This is a positive economic sign for our district.
We monitor class sizes closely and strive to keep these numbers as low as possible. To decrease the number of students per class and expand the number of classrooms at each grade level, portable classrooms are installed to temporarily address the need for space.
The district has 22 such rooms in use at our elementary schools and four at Southport High, the latter of which are solely being utilized while rooms are upgraded.
As is the norm for spring, we are planning for the upcoming school year. During the April school board meeting a presentation and recommendation for additional staffing were reviewed and approved. Five more teachers will be employed at the elementary level. This is good news but brings the challenge of adding more portable classrooms.
These additional instructors will enable us to increase grade level sections, but we will need to install four additional portable classrooms over the summer break: two at Mary Bryan Elementary and two at Burkhart Elementary, which already has four.
When the 2014-15 school year begins, there will be 26 portable classrooms at the elementary schools. This amount would literally create an elementary school with four sections of each grade level.
Three additional teachers will be employed at the secondary level. Since enrollment has increased in the physical education programs, an instructor will be added at Perry Meridian Middle to maintain reasonable class sizes.
An additional guidance counselor at Perry Meridian and Southport highs was also approved. At this time, each of our high school counselors are assigned approximately 450 students. The addition of an another counselor at each building reduces that number to approximately 330 students.
The role of a counselor in the life of a student is important. Counselor responsibilities include academic aand career guidance, transcript maintenance, college and career preparation, SAT/ACT/ECA/AP testing, student supervision and much more.
The board approved the staffing requests, and we are in an excellent position to employ the best and the brightest to work with our students. We are grateful for a board that supports and cares for our staff and students.