Bentonville School District’s Enrollment on the Rise

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Bentonville is one of the fastest growing school districts in the state, according to Superintendent Michael Poore. Records show about 15,000 students are enrolled and that number is on the rise.

The Bentonville School District has a little more than 1,000 new students enrolled for this fall. That is about twice as many as usual, Poore said.

The district has hired about 120 new teachers to help ensure smaller class sizes for those kids. In addition to new faculty, the district is also opening the doors to two new schools; but those schools are only expected to provide temporary relief from overcrowding.

"One is Willowbrook Elementary, which is a K-4 and then we have a 5-6 campus that's called Bright Field Middle School,” Poore said. “We thought it was going to be a cushion for us for three or four years in terms of growth but it actually is just going to help us get through this year."

The district plans to use some portable buildings at some schools for the next few years until the district can build more schools.

Some say rapid growth is great for the area, including new teacher, Larry Schirling.  

"It makes it fantastic,” Schirling said. “If it's just a place that's growing instead of declining that it's a place that people want to be in, it's a place where there's new opportunities, it's a place where the best and brightest of the country are flocking so it's a place that I would like to raise my daughter in, it's a place that I'd like to have my family."

More than 100 new teachers gathered at Bentonville High School Tuesday afternoon for a luncheon. Many teachers 5NEWS spoke to at the luncheon said the district's growth is what brought them here.

This will be Scarlet Andrews’ first year to teach.

"It's great to know that I can contribute to a growing district and that I have a place in a community that is growing and educating that community," Andrews said.

Classes start August 20 in the Bentonville School District.

Poore said the district would like to put the millage before voters again in 2013 but added he does not know how much of a tax increase the district will seek.