Sunnyside students busing to Bell

At least 18 children who currently attend Sunnyside Elementary will be switching schools this fall.

On Wednesday, the Minot Public School Board voted to redraw school district boundary lines and send some students at overcrowded Sunnyside Elementary to Bell Elementary instead.

Bell Elementary, located a few miles outside Minot, is projected to have small class sizes next year while Sunnyside currently has four portable classrooms in use outside the main school building.

Assistant superintendent Jeff Holm said the parents of the children who will be affected by the move have already been notified. The children will be bused to Bell school. As they live in the neighborhoods surrounding Jefferson Early Childhood Center, they have until now been bused to Sunnyside. When the school district closed the former Jefferson Elementary, they began busing children from that neighborhood to Sunnyside instead.

The district currently runs four buses to Bell Elementary. It won’t be necessary to add another bus route when the boundary lines are shifted.

Also at Thursday’s board meeting, board members approved the hiring of an additional three teachers for children who speak English as a second language. The district currently has two English Language Learner teachers.

Holm said there are currently 139 ELL students in the district.

“That’s over double the number we had a year ago,” he said.

The increase in students learning English reflects the ongoing growth in the area.

The students are spread out across the elementary and high school levels and speak a variety of languages, including Spanish and Chinese.

Minot voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to approve a $39.5 million bond issue. If passed, the bond referendum would pay for construction of a 550-student elementary school on land the district already owns in southeast Minot, for classroom additions and renovations at Perkett and Edison elementaries and safety and security upgrades at other schools in the district, which would include relocating school offices to a centralized location, additional security cameras and buzzer systems to enter schools. School officials say the bond issue is necessary to address ongoing growth in the district and so the district can remove many of the portable classrooms that are currently in use at schools across the district.