Parents and Community members voice concerns about Rochester school growth

Elementary schools in the city are at 98 percent capacity and middle schools are at 99 percent due to the Med City's enormous growth.

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 11:58 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 7:10 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Elementary schools in the city are at 98 percent capacity and middle schools are at 99 percent due to the Med City's enormous growth.

The School Board is scrambling to accomodate all of the students and faculties' needs by proposing the construction of a new middle and elementary school as well as rebuilding Bishop and Longfellow Elementary to fit more than 1,400 children.

Expanding Bishop Elementary does not sit well with one faculty member.

"I think it would disrupt the learning and the culture would be negatively impacted because we aren't equipped to deal with such a drastic change," Tracy Youngberg, a music teacher at Bishop, said.

If approved, the construction would start in the spring of 2021 with facilities built in 2022, but Youngberg is not sure it is feasible.

"You can't have that expansion in a year, possibly not even two or three."

Parents are also critical of the plans.

"Students don't learn better in a larger school environment and can actually learn worse," Angela Gupta, a parent of two students in the school district, said.

In fact, she believes the School Board should go back to the drawing board.

"I think Rochester is not setting itself up to be a leader in education and to develop a workforce that can be the future we want Rochester to be."

Superintedent Michael Muñoz says they need to get working on the solutions soon since the School District cannot stick with their situation forever.

"We can't just go on for the next 5 years under the current situation that we are in."

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