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Brookings School District Seeks Changes



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The city of Brookings is looking ahead at ways to improve their school district.

As the area grows, some public schools are running out of space and reaching max capacity.

During a handful of meetings between the Brookings School Board and staff members from the schools, a lot of strengths in the district were recognized along with a complicated set of challenges, challenges the school board is trying to fix.

"Growth floats everybody's boat, but it requires bigger boats too," said Rogers.

Larry Rogers, President of the Brookings School Board said his family settled in Brookings in 1994 and since then the population has grown 50 percent.

The growth is affecting how public schools operate to the extreme, School Board members decided to hold a handful of listening sessions to hear input from teachers and administration.

"We wanted to know what the school strengths were, what they really valued and what they saw as challenges, both short range challenges and long range challenges," said Rogers.

Hillcrest Elementary was built in 1954 and since then has gone through four extensions to expand the building for more space, yet there's still a need for more room.

"It has an enormous population crammed into a space where teachers do wonderful things but you know you're in a fully cramped building," said Rogers.

There are also needs for technology teachers and support, additional staff for various curriculums and more space for special education programs.

Although more classroom space is a top priority, the Brookings School District is committed to maintaining low class size, which Rogers said benefits the students.

With a handful of needs that are strong and overwhelming, Rogers said an option in the near future is to build a new K-3 elementary school.

"We've always had the money to build a school, we didn't always have the money to staff the school and we think we have a couple of options that will let us do that," said Rogers.

The next step for the school board is to talk with staff and administration from the schools about possible changes.

The school board is also talking about how to fund the different projects, like a new elementary school.
A potential site for a new school is located near 32nd avenue south, an area where Brookings continues to expand.
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