The recent growth of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the Belmond-Klemme school district means that the group needs a bigger classroom. The ELL students will be moving into the alternative classroom in the high school.
“The ELL students no longer fit in the old janitor’s closet (located in the hallway near the gymnasium),” Superintendent Dan Frazier told the school board June 11. The alternative school will need a new home in the fall.
Years ago, the western third of the high school library was walled off for the alternative school.
While the ELL students have a new home, there is still concern about overcrowding at the junior/senior high school. There will be an increase of at least 34 students in the building as larger elementary classes replace smaller classes of graduating seniors. In addition, there is no private space for the guidance counselor, no conference room, and no adult restrooms or break room for teachers and staff.
Frazier said the school could look at commercial properties to rent, specifically the former chiropractic office in Bel Plaza. That facility could be used for the three-person business office, as well as the superintendent. Moving the business office would allow the guidance counselor to move back into the space that was specifically designed for that use.
Boardmember Jackie Burk said, “There are people who really, really want us to use the Ramsay building.”
Boardmember Gary Berkland countered, “I have heard the opposite.”
A group called Build a Better Belmond is working on securing funding to update the former elementary school. That group is scheduled to appear at the June 20 school board meeting to discuss the idea. Frazier said he expects it will take up to $1 million to bring the building up to the standards required by the Iowa Department of Education.
The board also briefly discussed the idea of renting portable classrooms, but there was not much support for that idea.
Boardmember Teresa Mosiman said she wants to have a plan for dealing with the increase in students. “I don’t like the idea that we are always just making do,” she said.