Leader Blues

Monday, August 27, 2007

TOP STORY >>New elementary is overcrowded

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Stagecoach Elementary School in Cabot is asking three families to voluntarily move their children from Cabot’s newest elementary school because of overcrowding.

Parents received a letter from the school Thursday explaining that Stagecoach is three students over the limit in third-grade.
There are 103 third-graders and four third-grade classrooms at the new school. The legal limit on the number of students per classroom for that grade level is 25.

Letters of the same type have also gone out to parents from other Cabot schools.

According to Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman, Eastside and Westside Elementary schools are over the limit in kindergarten and Westside is also over the limit in first-grade.

“But no school is over by more than three students at this time,” he said.

Thurman said the district has plenty of open seats at other schools in the district.

“We can’t hire a teacher being only three over with plenty of room at other schools, so we are asking parents if they’d like the option of moving to one of the schools with open seats,” Thurman said Friday.

If an additional teacher was hired and a classroom added, students would have to be pulled from the four full classrooms to fill the additional room, making none of the classes a full class of 25. An additional teacher would also mean an additional cost to the district of at least $50,000 a year – the salary and benefits package for a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience. That cost of course increases with experience and education.

School’s roads

The Cabot School Board recognized Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman during its monthly meeting Tuesday for his work in getting the roads widened at Stagecoach Elementary.

Assistant superintendent Jim Dalton, during meetings with Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams and Troutman, mentioned traffic around Stagecoach and widening the roads out there.

“He (Troutman) said he would be glad to help out with that and two days later the equipment was sitting out there waiting to go,” Dalton said. “It was very impressive.”

The Cabot School District paid for the materials to get the job done and Troutman’s crews did all the work.
“If you’ve been out there, you know we couldn’t be surviving as a school on that road without it being widened,” Dalton told those in attendance Tuesday.

“I was glad to do it,” Troutman said. “I’m always looking at economic development and the Cabot School District is a big part of economic development and moving forward,” he said.

Troutman added he still thinks the district should blacktop Stagecoach Road, but that it could be done at anytime.