District enrollment is up by 400 students and all options are on the table

Six years of sustained enrollment increases have Taft City School District dealing with a shortage of classrooms.

Chief Business Official Steven Gragg told the Board of Trustees the District is already taking steps to increase classroom space in the short term and looking at longer-term alternatives, including identifying possible sites for new schools.

Enrollment is up nearly 20 percent in the last six years and is currently at 2,412 students.

It was just over 2,000 in the 2013-2014 school year.

"If these numbers continue to increase at this rate we are going to be looking at an overcrowding problem (and) having more kids than these sites were designed to hold," Gragg told the Board.

Already the District has spent about $350,000 to move two portable classrooms in the jump site at Sixth and Cougar Court across the street to Lincoln.

At the elementary schools, library media centers are being converted into classrooms and the after school programs are moving into the cafeterias which "is not an ideal situation," according to Gragg.

Gragg said many rural school districts like the TCSD just keep increasing class size to deal with overcrowding but that's not an option the District wants to do.
Currently, there is a 26-1 student-to-teacher ratio at the four K-3 schools, Jefferson, Taft Primary, Conley and Parkview, and a 29-1 ratio at Roosevelt, which has all the District's fifth and six graders.

The District has hired a retired school district facilities director to help it find ways to deal with the problem.

Every option is on the table.

"The District is looking at all funding and building options, " Gragg said.