Board hears report on high school crowding

By Chuck Kajer

The New Prague Area School Board learned just how crowded conditions will be at New Prague High School this fall.

The report was on the agenda because if the board wants to include a bond referendum for an addition to the high school, they must notify the state by September 16. That gives them just two meetings to decide whether they will ask voters to approve an addition and just how much money they will ask for.

Last December, when voters approved a question to build elementary schools in New Prague and New Market, they also turned down a second question for an addition to the high school and a third elementary school in Lonsdale.

Tim Rybak, the district's director of operations, presented enrollment projections for the 2006-07 school year and beyond. He noted that as of Monday, there were 1,107 students enrolled for classes at the high school. He said that did not include about a dozen registration packets that had been sent out, nor did it take into account students who were registered last spring, but who will not be returning to the building. Typically, about 20 students leave the school for various reasons during the summer, whether they drop out, transfer or choose post secondary options.

The current high school, which opened in 1998, is designed to hold 1,050 students. Last year, at its peak, it housed 1,070 students, but that number had declined to 1,028 by the end of the year.

Tom Doig, high school principal, said the school had projected 1,083 students for fall.

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