Leopold Teacher Troy Dassler, via email:
As part of full disclosure, I must admit that one of the two classrooms that were carved out the lunchroom is where I teach our children. So, this story has special significance to me and my students.
NBC 15 News:
New School Year, Same Referendum Questions
Overcrowding on First Day
Updated: 6:29 PM Sep 1, 2005
Madison: The new third graders at Aldo Leopold Elementary probably did not pay much attention to the school referendum questions last spring.
They don’t know that the voters rejected a plan that would have given them a new school by the time they were in 5th grade. But some of them do understand overcrowding.
“I would say in terms of optimal learning environment Leopold is overcrowded now. We’re using every square inch of Leopold with kids,” says Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater.
“We try to organize to minimize the impact on children,” says Leopold Principal Mary Hyde.
Hyde says she was disappointed the $14.5 million dollar building project didn’t pass, but she can’t worry about that now. Hyde has to fit 720 kids into a building designed for 650. “I’ve taken part of the lunchroom and made it into 2 classrooms.”
With more growth in the neighborhood expected, doing nothing is not an option. So with voters rejecting a second school on the same site, all that’s left is more boundary changes and a long bus ride.
The problem is the area is bounded by the Verona and Oregon School Districts. “We’re like a peninsula,” explains Rainwater. “And the school is located on the very northern edge. So it’s very difficult to do some kind of boundary (change) that accommodates these children.”
Hyde says something has to be done. “We’re just getting to the point where we cannot continue because we have no more space.”
Rainwater says a community task force is taking another look at the Leopold overcrowding issue. They’ll be making a recommendation to the school board this year on whether they should go back to the voters with another referendum.