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Duncan schools are faced with a growing problem

DUNCAN, Okla._Duncan Public Schools have been steadily growing over the years and now, classrooms are starting to burst at the seams as early as kindergarten.

Elementary schools are running out of room which is forcing teachers to hold larger classes and kick electives like music and computer labs out of their classrooms. Officials agree something must be done and now they're turning to parents for feedback.

Parents of Duncan students between kindergarten and third grade have been receiving surveys in the mail asking them to choose between options: either support redistricting throughout town or open a new fifth grade center in a separate building. The response the district received soon after was much more than they expected.

"The classes they have now, they have way too many kids in them. Way too many kids," said one parent.

It's a growing problem that Duncan Public Schools wants to nip in the bud before it gets out of hand. With several schools like Plato, Emerson and Horace Mann elementaries having neither extra space nor room for more students, the district gave parents of future fifth graders an option. Over 85 percent of parents responded saying yes, a fifth grade center would suit the needs of students and parents alike.

Concerned parents throughout the school district expressed concerns about the growing class sizes.

"There needs to be less students in each class. It makes it easier for the teacher and they learn more."

"Some of them advance more than others."

Under the proposed plan, the district would move fifth graders to the Edge Academy. It was just recently renovated to house ninth graders so when it came to relocation, the district felt fifth graders would be more comfortable inside this two story building than kindergartners.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Stone told said the district's priority is to acclimate all of the students in the best way possible. The Edge Academy building would not only provide smaller rooms, but it  would also put these ten to eleven year olds in an environment more conducive to their age and educational level, making transitions for kids easier on all levels.

"At one point in time, they did have a 6th grade center, and yes I like it. Because my son went to it and he got more out of that than being with a bunch more kids and it was easier on them," said another parent in favor of the fifth grade center.

The district is thrilled that most parents are backing the new center, but they want to stress that the plan is just one they're considering to combat the overcrowding issue. Obviously, it's the most popular, but with current kindergartners being one of the district's largest classes; they hope to find a permanent solution within the next couple of years. 

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