Growing Pains at Bentonville High School
As Benton County voters make the decision on a 6.7 mill tax increase, students at Bentonville High School deal with growing pains. The tax increase will be used to build a second high school in Centerton to relieve overcrowding. But an anonymous group says the issues can be resolved without excessive spending.
With 3,600 students at Bentonville High School this last year it was a fight to get through the hallways.
“Their number one concern was that I’m so crowded in the hallway; I cannot get to my classes,” says Kim Garrett, Bentonville High School Principal.
Superintendent Michael Poore says students are not even using their lockers
“The reason why they don’t use lockers is because they can’t find time to get to their locker and then go to one class, get done with that class, go back to their locker to get more books and go to another class. So they just carry their books around.”
Next year, there will be 3,900 students, 6,000 over the ideal capacity.
An anonymous group against the second high school says there are options to relieve overcrowding like more internet courses or a ninth grade center.
But Garrett says some ideas could turn into a headache.
“If we add more time in the hallways we have to extend our day, which pushes bus schedules, which means kids have to be picked up earlier or they have to go home later.”
Poore says classrooms are getting full too and are close to the state’s restrictions of a 30 to one student teacher ratio. Teachers are moving from one classroom to the other and when not teaching, they sometimes have nowhere to go. So next year they will be in room what they now use as a storage room.
“That’s because next year we will have 50 floating teachers, we are trying to find more work places where they can have an office when they’re not in a classroom teaching,” says Garrett.
Poore says changes will have to be made..
“Trying to do some split schedule where some kids are coming in in the morning and going from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and another group of kids coming in at 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I think some people think that we’re trying to scare them, no it’s just how we would have to fit everybody in to the facilities that we have in place,” explains Poore.
Residents will vote on the issue this Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7:30 in the morning until 7:30 that night.