It may be time for the 18-year-old West Yellowstone school building to expand with class sizes that continue to grow each year.
West Yellowstone School Superintendent Lael Calton is working on a proposal to add classrooms to the elementary wing of the school. The school hasn't undergone any major renovations since 1997, according to Calton. Adding additional classrooms to the elementary wing has been part of a long-term plan for the school, according to Calton.
She explained that the project is still in the beginning phases and that she's not ready to discuss prices just yet, during Monday's regular school board meeting. She is actively working with four companies to figure out the best process for the renovations.
"The plans are to add two to four classrooms to the elementary wing," she said.
Calton is taking her time with the proposal to assure everything is done correctly. Class sizes are growing, however, with the possibility of having to place a class in the multipurpose room next year. That's if numbers in the younger grades continue to increase, according to Calton.
For example, the current teacher-to-student ratio for the third-grade class is one teacher for 28 students. The recommended teacher-to-student ratio for third-grade classes is one teacher for every 24 students, according to Calton.
"When you're trying to do construction on schools there are so many things you have to worry about. You have to hire experts (in their fields) to help facilitate the project," she said.
The school district would need to take out bonds to fund the project. Calton hopes to have the proposal ready for the school board to vote on a bond election in May for the renovations.
Independent certified public accountant Ross Stalcup presented the audit report for the 2009-2010 school year to the school board.
There were no negative findings in the audit report, according to West Yellowstone School District clerk Mary Davis.
"In order to pay for the construction addition to the school we need to have an audit to reflect that we're in good financial standing (to take out bonds)," Calton said.
Davis and Calton explained that Ross would need to file an audit report free of negative issues or wrong doings.
"Our liabilities and our assets have to be equal and financially sound if we consider submitting a bond proposal in the May election," Calton said.
In other business, a total of 11 classes are being offered for the Adult Education program, which is set to begin in January. Registration is open for the classes and is on a first come, first serve basis, according to Calton.
"I was hoping to be able to offer five classes and we ended up with 11," she said.
The class selections range from digital photography, welding, dance and Spanish for beginners.
The school board accepted Ron Binfet's resignation as the junior high girls and boys' basketball coach, which went into effect on Nov. 22.
All were in favor to hire Dave Arnado as the assistant varsity boys' basketball coach, Daniel Hambarian as the head junior high boys' basketball coach and Erin Zahariev as the head junior high girls' basketball coach.
Varsity boys' basketball coach Ron Binfet believes the new coaches will do a good job guiding the teams through the remainder of the season.
Calton reserved a portion of her Superintendent's report to allow teachers to demonstrate how technology is being utilized in the classroom.
Teachers Sherrie Williams and Jo Stevens and their classes completed a digital cooperative learning project using Google Earth software. Juniors Maisie Gospodarek and Angel Sanchez presented their final project to the school board. The students interviewed different businesspersons in town "who have lived in West Yellowstone for awhile," according to Gospodarek. The students created audio clips that explained the historical aspects of the businesses including Eagle's Store, Wild West Pizzeria and Jacklin's Fly Shop. The school board commended the students for their efforts on the project.
The school board closed the meeting to the public and went into an executive session at 7:52 p.m.
All were in favor of the motion made during the executive session to accept Calton's recommendations for disciplinary actions for four students in regards to non-participation/non-attendance of school co-curricular and school sponsored activities.
The next regular West Yellowstone School board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. in the school's art room.