The Aberdeen School District will be moving their 6th-grade students to Miller Junior High School to reduce class sizes across the grade schools. The school board made the decision at their regular meeting last week, the change won’t be implemented until the 2019-2020 school year.
Board members also reviewed the pros and cons of instead adding portables to each of the elementary schools, however, most would require additional fencing to secure them, on top of the costs of the portables.
After several surveys of parents and teachers, District Superintendent Dr. Alicia Henderson said one of the concerns was bathrooms, “By code, or by law, there wouldn’t be a requirement. Nevertheless, it’s a perception and a sentiment that was expressed over and over again on the survey about that.”
The board reviewed state law on bathroom ratios and found that they need 1 stall for every 35 male students, and a 1:25 ratio for females and adult or specials needs students. Miller Junior High currently has 21 male stalls, 15 female, and 7 adult or special needs stalls in the building, leaving room to reassign some of those to accommodate the additional 230 children.
While they haven’t decided yet on what the new classrooms will look like at Miller, they’re looking at placing either four portables, or one larger complex in between the current Junior High building and Pioneer Park.
Some options would add restrooms in or near the new buildings, however, Henderson said the students would be eating lunch together.
The total cost for most of the options hovered around $1-million, but doing nothing could cost the district $600-thousand a year. The state’s K-3 Class Size Reduction requires a class size average of 17 students to each teacher. Henderson pointed out that districts failing to reach that goal by 2019-2020 will lose some state funding, for Aberdeen that could mean about $600-thousand. She said at that rate, the district would make up for the costs of the move in about two years.