Parents concerned about overcrowding in the Wentzville School Di - KMOV.com

Parents concerned about overcrowding in the Wentzville School District

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(KMOV.com) – Many parents in the Wentzville School District said they are concerned the district is not keeping up with an expected rise an enrollment.

Wentzville is one of the St. Louis area’s fastest growing towns and school districts. One parent described the current situation as a “perfect storm” because the district is experiencing record growth but a limited amount of tax dollars available.

Some parents believe the school district is mishandling its debt.

“We are dealing with the problem of many years, this is not ‘oh we missed one opportunity to raise the debt, this is years and years of not responsibly paying down the debt,” said parent Elizabeth McGowan. McGowan and another parent are behind a Facebook page that focuses on the district entitled “Moms on a Mission.”

McGowan said the school board does not have a long range plan in place to properly handle Wentzville’s growth. The district is expected to grow by 600 students a year.

“August is when new kids come and we don’t have enough room in some of our schools. We already have five schools that are overcapacity and we simply do not have enough classrooms to house these students,” said parent Maggie Harr with Moms on a Mission.

School Board President Dale Scharp said the district will ask for help from taxpayers in April, 2015. However, it is unclear what that proposal will look like.

“I think what we’re doing this time, even though there’s some impatience, we’re looking at a good long-term plan that we know how we can house our students, maybe up to 19,000 students which should be somewhere around the year 2020-2021,” said Scharp.

McGowan said the district is sometimes its own worst enemy.

“Because we have happy kids, high test scores, teachers who are engaged, administrators that are accessible. So parents don’t understand the real issues we are facing, and the board doesn’t have your child’s best interest at heart,” McGowan said.

The school board will hold a special meeting Monday. Scharp said the district must finalize any ballot language by January if it wants the measure on the ballot in April.

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