The Altoona School District has what you could call a growing problem. Classrooms are filling up in Altoona but the space is not there.
ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- One local district has what you could call a growing problem. Classrooms are filling up in Altoona but the space is not there.
On Monday night, a group of voters said "yes" to an idea that district leaders hope will solve that problem for now.
District leaders pitched the idea to the public - an offer to buy a house next to the high school for $154,000. Five people will work there as soon as January, freeing up district offices for more classroom space.
The vote passed 62 to 5. District leaders say it will not cost taxpayers any extra money, nor will anything have to be cut. They will have room for that purchase in this year's budget.
It is a short-term solution but the district is also looking long-term to solve the classroom space issues.
"We really try to start the beginning of the year setting up rules and expectations," said Deb Stuckert, a kindergarten teacher in Altoona.
That is near the top of her to-do list at the start of the school year. Her classroom is one that has space issues and she has had to learn how to work around it.
"If you're not structured, they will eat you alive," she joked.
And in her classroom, that is essential. Why you ask?
"We have 30 students in our room," she said.
That's 3-0. More letters than the alphabet.
"It is a lot," she added.
30 kids between her and another teacher in the room.
"Ideally this room is built for 18, not 30," she said.
But that is reality when space is tight. The classroom next door also has 30 kids. In fact, this year's kindergarten class in Altoona is the largest the district has seen with 145 kids.
"By creating a little bit of space, that's a domino effect and will help everyone," said Dr. Connie Biedron, Altoona's Superintendent.
She says now that voters have given them the green light to buy a house near the high school, they will look at moving staff members into the school hopefully by January. The space in the district office will then be used for middle school classrooms.
"Next year we're looking at portable classrooms as well," she said.
They are also looking at long-term building or adding-on solutions. Ideas they will present to the community by the end of the month. Parents we talked with agree more space is needed.
"I think the school has done the best with what they have, but I think more space would be an added improvement," said Melissa Leis.
"I think managing the class sizes would be ideal, I see they are splitting it up," said Brett Levandowski.
"I was fortunate to have a teaming partner that had teamed kindergarten for a long time," Stuckert added.
She says having a teaching partner has been a big help. But she adds it is not what is best for her, it is what is best for the kids.