More portables coming

Minot Public Schools Superintendent Mark Vollmer said Thursday that more portable classrooms at the schools will be required when school starts next month, suggesting that increased enrollment is putting a strain on buildings.

Edison Elementary, which had not needed a portable since improvements were made, will have a double portable with two classrooms this fall. Other schools that will have portable classrooms include Bel Air, which will have a single portable, with one classroom, and a double portable, with two classrooms; Jim Hill Middle School, which will have two double portables, each with two classrooms; McKinley Elementary, which will have one single portable, with one classroom; Perkett Elementary, which will have a double portable, with two classrooms; Sunnyside Elementary, which will have one single portable, with one classroom, and a double portable, with two classrooms; and Washington Elementary, which has four double portables on the school grounds, each with two classrooms, and a rented classroom in the Magic City Financial Building south of the Washington School. The Head Start program is also using a double portable, with two classrooms.

Vollmer said the school board will discuss future planning for the district at its next meeting and school board retreat, which are open to the public. The board held a series of public meetings this past spring and laid out different options for future school construction to address increased enrollment. Voters will likely be asked to approve a school bond issue sometime late in the fall. Vollmer said 1,000 more students are expected to enroll in the district during the next five years.

Also on Thursday, Vollmer said the district lost Title I programs at Bell Elementary, North Plains and Memorial Elementaries this year because incomes rose and there were no longer enough children qualifying for free and reduced price lunches. The federal income guidelines don’t take into account cost of living increases in a district, said Vollmer, who added that parents aren’t necessarily better off if their incomes have risen, since the cost of other things like housing and food in Minot have also risen. The board authorized “look alike Title I” programs at those schools that will be funded by the district. Title I programs help provide supplemental academic assistance at schools. The federal government funds the programs based on the percentage of children in a school who are eligible for free and reduced price lunches.