By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
Editor’s note: When the bond issue failed this past April, those in favor of the improvements suggested in the package felt they did not adequately express the needs of USD No. 480 to the voters. This is part five in a series that will go through each elementary school throughout the district with Director of Auxiliary Services Alan Haskell in order to relay what needs each school has to the community.
Lincoln Elementary, like the rest of the elementary schools throughout USD No. 480 that have been featured in this series, faces space issues on a daily basis. With most of her building’s classrooms over the board’s recommended capacity, Principal Melinda Cline is aware that something needs to be done to alleviate this problem – soon.
“I do need more space,” Cline said. “All of our classrooms are filled beyond the cap that the district has set, more so than I had planned actually. We are full.
“We are having a difficult time finding materials to supplement our needs where we have gone over,” she explained. “We need more social studies books and those kinds of things for each one of the kids.
“We definitely have some needs here,” she continued. “More space is definitely needed for the kids to have all that they need for success in academic learning.”
When one single room serves as a cafeteria and gymnasium, scheduling conflicts become a problem very quickly. Not only that, staff must not waste a moment in the setting up and tearing down process.
“We have to shut down P.E. class early so that they can set up for lunch and then it is a rush to get the kids fed,” she said. “We give them adequate time to eat, but it is a rush for the staff to get things ready for lunch and then ready for P.E. again in the afternoon.”
According to Alan Haskell, a new gym would have been part of the improvement plan for Lincoln Elementary had the bond issue passed.
“We now have P.E. everyday,” Cline said of having a gymnasium as well as a cafeteria. “It would accommodate for classes to run concurrently instead of having big gaps of time.
“It will also allow for us to have assemblies,” she added. “It would give us more opportunity for activities. A separate cafeteria/gym space would be ideal.”
With all classes in the building running over capacity except for the two second grade classes, and with enrollment continuing to grow each year, Haskell said something must be done.
“It is the truth, it is a fact,” Haskell said of the overcrowding issues the district faces. “Once again, classrooms are not built for modern effective teaching. We also have a P.E. and food service conflict in each elementary school.”
cut line: Lincoln Elementary students utilize the computer lab on Wenesday afternoon. Due to time constraints and overcrowding, they only get computer lab time every other day. Music class is provided for the students on the days they aren’t attending the computer lab.
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