BEND, OR -- The first day of school promises to be a crowded event at a number of Bend schools, Wednesday. Bend-La Pine Schools Deputy Superintendent Jay Mathisen says the district expected 350 new students, this fall, but they’ve already beat that number. "We’re still seeing students register and enroll in school at rates that we just haven’t seen before," he tells KBND News. "We believe we’ll have more than 18,000 students in the school district, this year, which will be a first for us. We’ll continue to be the 5th largest district in the state. The challenging part of that is that’s 500 more students than were in our school district last year. When you think about 500, that scale of growth is massive."
Assistant Superintendent Lora Nordquist adds, "We have 11 of our 31 schools that are at or over capacity, right now." She tells KBND News administrators are making sure every student has a desk, "We’re ordering a couple of modular classrooms; we have some schools doing some very creative things about where classrooms are located. We’re going to have homes for all our students, but we’re creative at this point."
Mathisen says the Sites and Facilities Committee is already evaluating over-crowding. "All signs, right now in their work, point to a need for a new high school as soon as the fall of 2018. We know right now that Bend High School has more students – they’re over capacity this fall, as we look at their numbers; we know that Summit High School is over capacity, for the first time in their history, as we look at their numbers; and Mt. View High School is just a handful of students away from having 1500 kids, which is at their capacity." He says a number of grade schools are also at or near capacity. Last year’s opening of Pacific Crest eased enrollment at Bend middle schools.
To hear our full conversation with Dep. Superintendent Jay Mathisen and Asst. Superintendent Lora Nordquist, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.