Jenks Schools In 'Desperate Need' Of Fourth Elementary School

Monday, January 26th 2015, 10:50 pm
By: News On 6

School leaders said state funding just isn't enough to support how fast Jenks schools are growing.

The district is encouraging community members to get out and vote for this year's school bond that would build a new school.

Jenks surpassed estimates that it would have 11,400 students this year. The district is growing, and in need of more space for students.

Kim Kittelson, principal of Jenks West Elementary, said the schools are overcrowded.

"We're at that point we have to look at another elementary school," she said.

More young families are moving to Jenks and Kittelson said her school is feeling growing pains, especially in class size.

"We're running anywhere between 25 and 27 students and, ideally, we'd love that number to be around 22 and 23," Kittelson said.

The district is proposing a $120 million school bond, which would build a fourth elementary school.

District spokesperson, Bonnie Rogers said, "We have just run out of space for those little ones."

She said the elementary schools are so crowded the district has had to turn away some Pre-K kids.

"Unfortunately, even with some shifting around from site to site, we were not able to serve about 30 families," Rogers said.

With the new school, the district would also have to shift its boundaries, rezoning students in the northern part of the district.

The proposed bond would also address other district needs, including remodeling the central campus kitchen and cafeteria, renovating high school buildings, building an agricultural research facility, buying copiers and other equipment and maintaining buses.

It would also put more tablets and computers in the hands of students. But, the focus is on growth.

“We desperately need more elementary classroom space so that we can continue to provide the quality education that Jenks is known for," Kittelson said.

The district has not purchased land for the possible fourth elementary school, and, therefore, does not know where the school would be if and when it opens in the fall of 2016.

The school bond vote is February 10th.

The bond would not raise taxes.