MERIDIAN – It's official, the first week of school for many districts is now in the books. And while there are always problems and hiccups to resolve at the start of every school year, the Meridian School District is scrambling to fix a problem of overcrowding.
We're not talking about just a few students. We're talking about hundreds of students at many schools.
The overcrowding situation at Mountain View High School is not unique in the Meridian School District, but officials knows what's happening and they're working to fix it.
It's day four at Mountain View High School and students are taking their learning sitting down, literally.
While not all classes have students sitting on the floor, there are many classes, most of them core classes, with over 40 students. Principal Aaron Maybon says the problem is only temporary.
"We have desks and chairs that are ordered and on the way," said Maybon. "We ordered those two weeks ago as soon as we realized that there was a problem."
For the past three years the Meridian School District has increased in size by 550 students per year. This year that number was closer to 800, and that caught officials off guard.
"We have areas at every level where we have class sizes that are exceeding what they want them to be. We're just back in the growth mode," said Meridian School District spokesman Eric Exline.
Mountain View and Rocky Mountain high schools were built for 1,800 students. Each have 2,200. Meridian, Eagle and Centennial are in a little better situations, but not much.
The middle schools are even worse. Lake Hazel and Eagle are each built for 1,000 students. Lake Hazel is at 1,400 and Eagle is at 1,250.
While there's not much that can be done about school capacity, classroom sizes will change. The district already has new teacher positions posted to help cut class sizes down.
"But I'm not going to tell you that they're going to be small. They're still going to be fairly large, but better than what we have now," said Exline.
Ultimately, the district would like to build new schools, but that costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time, but it's something they'll address in the future.
Exline believes the district is heading back to the years before the recession when the district grew by upwards of 1,200 students a year. The trouble is, as it's always been, keeping up with the growth.
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